Sugarcane Plantations and the Alienation of Land from Smallholder Farmers through Out Grower Schemes in Busoga-Sub Region in Eastern Uganda.

Land Alienation from Smallholder Farmers

  • Robert Ojambo Kyambogo University
Keywords: Sugarcane, Plantation, Land Alienation, Smallholder, Farmers, and Land Grabbing.


Despite wide research on land grabbing in Africa, much of the existing literature restricts the practice mainly to a situation where land is leased or sold to outside investors for the production of food and bio-fuel for export to western world (Cotula, 2009, Deininger,, 2011). This paper extends the debate further by examining how local sugarcane companies and individuals in Busoga Region in Eastern Uganda encourage smallholder farmers to surrender their land willingly through the out-grower schemes on the basis of contract farming or private sugarcane production. Using a qualitative methodology that relied mainly on interviews of key informants and documentary review, the paper analyses the nature of the contemporary land alienations through contract farming between plantation agriculturalists and smallholder farmers, and how it has affected the livelihood of the peasants in Busoga region especially when it comes to the production of food for local consumption. The findings show that in the areas where sugarcane production through the out-grower schemes is the dominant economic activity, land alienation for sugarcane growing is rampant as the sugar companies and the agro-business farmers lure local peasants who mainly own land on customary tenure to grow sugarcane at the expense of producing food crops. The paper concludes that this is a new form of land grabbing in Uganda.

Author Biography

Robert Ojambo, Kyambogo University

Robert Ojambo is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of History and Political Science, Kyambogo University, Uganda. He holds a PhD Degree from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He also studied at Kyambogo University and Makerere University, Kampala Uganda where he obtained a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Degree respectively. He has been teaching at the University level for a period of 20years.  Ojambo is a recipient of the Next Generation Social Sciences Dissertation Completion Fellow 2014, African Humanities Program Dissertation Completion Fellowship 2012 and Next Generation Social Sciences Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship 2011 Fellow.  His research and writing cover topics in Economic History, Land, Conflict, Democracy and Higher Education. He is currently also represented Academic Staff in the Kyambogo University Council.