New oil palm prices excite farmers in Kalangala  

Oil palm farmers in Kalangala district are in high spirits following the increase in the price of oil palm currently at a price of shs. 1,137 per kilogram of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB), registering a 4% increase in the price from shs. 1,090 last month.

The increase in price is attributed to the increased demand for palm oil around the world as the traditional producer countries i.e, Malaysia and Indonesia are in the replanting season.

James Lutaaya, a pioneer oil palm farmer from Busanga Village, Mugoye Sub County says he has experienced the huge price changes right from 2010. “I have grown oil palm for 16 years. For my first harvest in 2010, we were paid UGX 240 for each kilogram of fresh oil palm bunches, but the prices have kept on increasing over the years. We are happy with the prices and are now earning huge from our harvest and I believe the prices will continue to go high,” Lutaaya explained.

Over the years, the price of oil palm fresh fruit prices has drastically increased. In September 2019, the price per kilogram stood at shs. 456, in May 2021, a kilogram of FFB went for shs. 857 and by September 2021, each kilogram of oil palm bunches was at shs.981 and now, they currently stand at shs 1,137.

David Balironda, the general manager of the Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT) says the price of the fresh fruit bunches changes every month as it is determined by a pricing formular reviewed monthly by the oil palm national pricing committee.

The committee is made up of representatives from; the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF); Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives; Kalangala Local Government and the oil palm farmers.

He notes that there are three price determinants the committee bases on when deriving the price of oil palm each month. Among these is the international price of crude oil in Malaysia.

The farmers in Kalangala always have ready market for their harvest as they sell their fresh fruit bunches to Bidco at its two established factories in Bujjumba and Mugoye sub countries on Bugala Island which produce the crude oil palm oil before exporting it to Jinja for refining.

Kalangala currently registers a total of 2,063 small holder farmers who according the KOPGT General Manager collectively earn over shs. 5 billion each month with a farmer earning an average of shs. 400,000 – shs. 600,000 from each acre of oil palm trees per month.

Oil palm growing was introduced in Kalangala district in 2005 to get farmers out of poverty and improve their livelihoods. It is currently established on 11,348 hectares of land. Of these, 4,848 hectares belong to the small holder farmers whereas 6,500 hectares are owned the nucleus estate.

Following its success in Kalangala, government is expanding the National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) to other areas of the country including Buvuma, Mayuge, Greater Masaka, and Greater Mukono. In Buvuma district, the project was launched in May 2021 targeting a total of 7,500 hectares with the nucleus estate owning 5,000 hectares and 2,500 hectares for the smallholder farmers.

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