Two residents at Bulima Village Busamuzi Sub County in Buvuma district have protested the clearance of their plots of land by Buvuma Oil Palm Uganda Limited -BOPUL.
After the introduction of palm oil growing in Buvuma, locals surrendered part of their land to National Oil Palm Project to enable the establishment of a nucleus palm oil plantation by the investor (BOPUL).
The locals had spared a part of the land for food production as well as palm oil small hold farming.
However, to their surprise on Thursday, tractors for the investor cleared all their plots of land, destroying their food crops besides leaving them without any part of the land for cultivation.
They wonder how NOPP failed to specify clear boundaries for the investor from their land than leaving him to encroach on their land which was not paid for. Lama Makaka, one of the residents whose land was cleared says they signed an agreement with NOPP committing willingness to sell part of the land but not authorizing them to use the entire piece.
Makaka says he was surprised to see tractors clearing his land. A receipt obtained by URN given to Makaka on April 18 2018, by Vegetable Oil Palm Project, now NOPP indicate that out of 5.18 acres of land, only 1.46 was paid for, for the investor to use.
Another resident, Dan Wasswa appeals to the government to intervene and accord them justice. He notes that his cassava plantation was cleared yet it was the only food base. The receipt issued to Wasswa indicates that out of the seven acres, only four were paid, for the investor to use.
Buvuma NOPP Coordinator, Gerald Epai says they have not yet received the complaint over the matter of clearing the locals’ spare land but promised to establish the validity of the matter so as to reconcile the two parties.
Since the government started buying off the land in Buvuma district, residents have been raising concerns over delayed payments, under compensation and poor location of boundaries forcing the investor to encroach on local’s land.
The oil palm project in Buvuma is planned to be established on 7,500 hectares with 5,000 dedicated to the nucleus estate and the rest of the land for smallholder farmers.
The new Resident District Commissioner, Jackeline Birungi says she is destined to end land wrangles and related injustices for the time of her stay at Buvuma. Birungi notes that issues related to meagre compensations by NOPP dominate among the challenges in the file handed over to her by her predecessor.