By Johnbosco Tugume
Security in Masindi has instituted stern measures to curb reckless fires, as Kinyara Sugar Limited loses over 100hectares of Sugarcane in plantation fires.
Bush burning is common in communities during such a dry season and as a result, fires end up into sugarcane plantations razing them down. The Masindi District security committee has come up with measures to fight the problem, as a way of protecting Kinyara Sugar factory and the cane farmers from the resultant losses.
Masindi Resident District Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma says that among the measures is the arrest and eventual prosecution of whoever is caught setting fires without notifying police and local authorities. He says police and court have already been put on notice.
“As security, we are very much concerned and can’t sit back when people’s household income activities are being lost due to economic saboteurs. We have already shared with the magistrates, police, and crime preventers on the ground and local leaders to ensure anybody found setting fire anywhere is reprimanded immediately,” Nyakahuma says.
Policemen have also been deployed to keep patrolling around Kinyara sugarcane plantations to avert any fire outbreaks, an awareness campaign on the dangers of fires is also underway with warning messages being aired on the various radio stations in the district.
“I request locals as well to coordinate with police to report any fire outbreaks immediately it’s noticed to avoid loses. We have a standby fire brigade ready to putdown any fires once reported or detected to be of disastrous,” Nyakahuma reveals.
Cosmas Byaruhanga, the Masindi District Chairman and leader of the Sugarcane out growers in the district says 100hectares sugarcane loss due to plantation fires is too huge for farmers. He reveals that the security intervention is to ensure that farmers are safeguarded.
Richard Olanya, the Officer In charge of fire at Masindi Police Station says on top of patrols, the police is also coordinating the formation of fire vigilante groups in villages. These groups have been equipped with skills on fire fighting.