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
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 et.al, 2009, Deininger, et.al, 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.