Total Compensates Buliisa Farmers

Total EampP Uganda Ltd has finally compensated residents of Buliisa district whose crops were destroyed in the 3-D seismic surveys.

A seismic survey, one of the activities during oil exploration, was conducted from September 2013 to May this year. Through its contractor, BGP, a Chinese firm, most have already received their pay.

Christopher Ocowun, Total EampP Uganda’s area communications officer, said the company had spent $2.1m (approximately Shs 5bn) on compensations. Ocowum said a total of 13,663 gardens were destroyed during the survey in the different villages of Ngwedo sub-county in Buliisa district.

Eighty per cent of the affected gardens were of cassava. The villages covered during the compensation exercise include Nunda, Khartoum, Kasenyi, Avogera, Kamandindi, Mvule, and Ajigo. Most of the farmers compensated were located within Ngwedo sub-sounty, with a few others coming from Kigwera sub-county, Ocowun said.

The compensation exercise started in April and ended last month.

“The compensation exercise was closely monitored by the Lc-I chairpersons of the different villages, Buliisa district leaders, civil society organisations, representatives of the Petroleum Exploration and Production department (PEPD) [at] the ministry of Energy and witnesses of different farmers… to promote transparency and minimise cases of fraud,” said Ocuwon.

“District landboards came up with the compensation rates and were approved by chief government valuer at the ministry of Lands.”

In addition to presenting proper identification documents, farmers were required to be accompanied by their spouses, close relatives, friends or neighbours to act as witnesses.

Total EampP Uganda and its contractor, BGP, are in the process of detecting unidentified farmers whose gardens were impacted and those who claim they missed out on compensation yet their gardens had also been destroyed. Francis Barugahara, the vice chairman LC-III of Ngwedo sub-county, who received compensation for 16 different gardens of cassava and sweet potatoes worth over Shs 10m, described the compensation as smooth with no delay.

“I used my compensation money to buy 30 iron sheets and 50 pieces of timbers to build a permanent residential house for my family. The other project I want to start is beekeeping for income generation,” he remarked.

Beatrice Mpairwe, the Buliisa Woman MP, applauded the exercise and said the farmers were happy with it.

“I met one woman who got about Shs 1.5m and she was happy. I hope they will put the money to good use,” Mpairwe said.

Source : The Observer

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