Uganda Palm Oil farmers defend Bidco

Farmers in Bugala Island in Kalangala District, Uganda have come out to defend Bidco over allegations that it committed human rights violations and land grabbing in the area.

The Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Association (KOPGA), an association of 1800 farmers have written a counter petition to the United National Development Programme (UNDP) discrediting an earlier one by the Bugala Farmers Association (BFA).

At the same time, the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust, the implementing agency that actually contracts farmers, has also taken exception to the claims against the project.

“As one of the main development actors in Kalangala finds these assertions lacking in facts and totally misleading,”

Nelson Basaalide the KOPGT General Manager said.

The Bugala Farmers Association had said that Bidco had committed various human rights violations, land grabbing and oversaw the environmental destruction of their area.

The association has however been called to question. KOPGA’s Chairman says there is no official record of Bugala Farmers Association anywhere and the individuals associated with the organisation are not part of the project in any way at all.

“We as KOPGA find the letter written by John Muyisa to be incorrect and totally misleading. We are also concerned that the “Bugala Farmers Association’ may be confused for the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Association by stakeholders which is not the case. We are registered with the District Government since 2006 however there is no record of BFA, their intentions or activities,”

the letter signed by KOPGA Chairman Martin Lugambwa says.

“We are proud to be a part of the project and the development it has brought to Bugala. Our farmers earn an average of 600 million Uganda Shillings a month from the sale of Oil Palm and this has the potential to reach UX 1.5 billion per month when the plantations reach full maturity,” he adds.

The KOPG Trust also shares the same view about the Bugala Farmers Association:

Basaalide explained that the process of acquiring land for the project was the role of the Government of Uganda not Bidco. In addition the land acquisition was on willing buyer willing seller basis.

The Trust concurs that no farmer has lost land to the project. Both bodies say there has been no deforestation caused by the project.

In a statement Vincent Rubarema the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture in Uganda reinforces this position

“Oil Palm is a tree crop so the cover on the island has improved by about 60 percent.”

Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Association (KOPGA) is an association based in Uganda that brings together small-scale farmers to do commercial production of their products and at the same time providing a ready market for their products.

The Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT) is the lead implementing agency, on behalf of the Government of Uganda (GOU), under an initiative of a public, private and producer partnership (PPPP) business model in Kalangala District. BIDCO is a key partner in this development partnership.

KOPGT and in a partnership with KOPGA has seen a total of 1800 farmers have been contracted for the growth of oil palm in a total of 10,750 acres.


  1. The government is yet to fulfil its pledge of offering a total of 10,000 heectares of land to BIDCO Uganda Limited to expand its palm tree plantations in Ssese Island.


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