By: TABU BUTAGIRA and DAN WANDERA
NAKASEKE: President Museveni yesterday launched a $300m (Shs75b) multi-purpose agriculture and agro-processing project in Nakaseke District, the country’s first flagship programme under the newly-enacted free economic zoning law.
A Turkish firm, ASB Group of Companies, is to implement the project on 18 square miles of land carved off the army’s training grounds in Kaweweta, formally called the Oliver Reginald Tambo Leadership School.
It is the institution where South Africa’s African National Congress armed youth wing trained during the apartheid era. The land was transferred to the investor under a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday, officials said. “We are happy to have an investor to be our neighbuor,” deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Charles Angina said.
Mr Museveni said the project will become a “growth pole” in the cattle corridor districts of Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Kyankwanzi and parts of Luwero, Kiboga and Masindi.
“This investor is going to do a lot of things; he will have his own cows, his own milk, a modern abattoir and also buy from you because he needs more cows to process [canned] beef,” he said.
The business plan shows ASB will venture into apiary farming and honey production, coffee processing, textile manufacturing, fruit growing and processing as well as producing medicinal and aromatic products from herbal plants.
President Museveni took issue with families of 149 encroachers who he berated for stalling commencement of the project by demanding compensation. “You came here on your own, took someone (government’s) land without permission, and you demand for compensation! I am not happy,” he said in vernacular. He later asked the encroachers to register for possible compensation.
Mr Sitki Ayan, the ASB Group chief executive, said the Uganda subsidiary will be the first of their eight planned special economic zones in various countries besides the 37 where the company has ongoing businesses.
The government plans to offer up to 70 square miles of land in different parts of the country to investors under the special economic zoning programme based on the Uganda Free Zones law the President assented to on February 2, 2014.
Source: Daily Monitor