May 14, 2013

Oil Money: Hoima Farmers Eat Big

Some of the Farmers who Have Benefited from Supplying Farm Produce to Tullow Oil
Some of the Farmers who Have Benefited from Supplying Farm Produce to Tullow Oil

Some farmers in Hoima district have started cashing in on supplying food to Tullow Oil Company, despite the fact that many of them are struggling to cope with the required standards. In July last year, Tullow Oil Company signed a contract with Hoima District Farmers Association-HODFA to supply food to its camps. Some farmers have been able to supply various food products. John Byaruhanga, a horticulture farmer from Buswekera in Busiisi Division, Hoima Municipality is one of the farmers supplying products to Tullow Oil Company through HODFA.

Byaruhanga has been supplying cabbages, green pepper, tomatoes and other vegetables to Tullow Oil company since July last year. He says that the company pays a better price for his produce compared to what he would earn in the local market. Byaruhanga sells one cabbage to Tullow at shs 1500 compared to shillings 700 he would fetch from Hoima central market. A bundle of Dodo and Sukuma wiki goes for shillings 1000 from shs 500 in the local market, while a Kilogram of tomatoes and green pepper fetch 3000 shillings each. The foods are supplied to the company per week.

Margaret Kasaija, a mushroom farmer in Hoima town is happy that she has been connected to the oil company. Kasaija says she has now sent a sample of her mushrooms for the start. She is optimistic that her produce will attract market in the Tullow camps since she has been trained on quality assurance at the Hoima Enterprise Centre.

In September last year Tullow in partnership with Traidlinks established an enterprise center and park to act as a training ground for farmers and other business dealers on better quality products and services. The centre that is found in Rwenkobe village in Bujumbura Division, also acts as a link between farmers, suppliers, business persons and tullow Oil Company.

But despite cashing in on their products, supplying high quality products remains a challenge. Dr Charles Kajura, the Hoima District Production officer says the quantity supplied is still limited because many of the farmers are yet to cope with the standard desired by the company. Kajura says at times some products are rejected because of poor quality. He is however optimistic with the enterprise center in place the farmers will be able to catch up.

Nelson Ofwono, the Tullow oil National Content Manager says the company puts a lot of emphasis on quality. Ofwono says good quality products, is the only way to go for farmers. More than 50 farmers are already supplying various products to the oil company. Since July last year a total of 138 tons of food have been supplied to the oil company.

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