Tobacco growers bitter over delay in paying them


KAKUMIRO. Tobacco growers in the greater Kibaale District, who were contracted by Premier Garden Tobacco Company in 2014 to make supplies to the company are still uncertain of their payments, three years after.
Hundreds of growers petitioned Parliament in 2014 accusing two tobacco companies, mainly Continental Tobacco and Premier Garden Company, over delayed payments and unfair measurements during the grading of their tobacco.
By then, according to the farmers, they were demanding about Shs600 million from Premier Garden Company which was operating within the current Kakumiro, Kagadi and Kibaale districts.
Mr Geoffrey Magezi, a tobacco grower, has expressed bitterness and lost hope of getting his money. “We run to Parliament with hope of getting the company compelled to clear our payments but this has not worked,” Mr Magezi said.
Mr Magezi said he demands Shs3m from the company
The current Parliamentary Agriculture Committee chaired by Mp Lowira Oketayot, has however drafted a final report seeking to compel Premier Garden Tobacco Company to clear the payments of growers.
When contacted last Friday, Ms Oketayot said in their report which originates from the findings on tobacco growers petition, it is only Continental Company which cleared the farmers.
“We got information that there are issues with Premier and that there some farmers have not yet been paid” she said.
The Kakumiro Resident District Commission, Mr Amboroze Onoria, said he is aware of the growers’ grievances and that the district authorities will not allow the companies to operate again.
However, when contacted, the regional Premier Garden Tobacco Company manager, Mr Steven Binkamanyire, said “We lost our managing director in early 2015 something that has paralysed the company operations.”

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