Uganda: Govt stops land transaction with investor in Agago

Lands minister, Ms Judith Nabakooba
Daily Monitor | 20 February 2024

Govt stops land transaction with investor in Agago
By  Tobbias Jolly Owiny
The Lands ministry has ordered the suspension of a process to secure at least nine square miles (5,750 acres) of land for Terra Agri Solutions Ltd to establish a farm in Agago district.
In a January 4 letter, Lands minister Judith Nabakooba said she wanted to avert possible land grabbing following complaints from locals. 
She said some locals claimed the investor and his team were not interfacing with the rightful land owners and clan leaders. 
“My Ministry has for now ordered the investor to pull back and allow the Ministry of Lands together with the district local governments to take charge, identify the rightful land owners, and survey and register their land,” she said.

Ms Nabakooba, however, emphasised that the government is not relenting on the opportunity.
Adding: “We want to do this within two months and the same team from the ministry shall come back to continue with the same in the respective sub counties. We must not lose this opportunity,” 
This publication has established that, last October, President Museveni held a meeting with representatives of the investment firm, Terra Agri Solutions Ltd, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), and clan leaders from Lapono, Omiya Pacwa, and Orom. 
However, Agago leaders disowned the representatives of landowners in the October 2023 meeting .

The investor wants to rent customary land for commercial agriculture under a project known as the Parish to Market socio-economic transformation of the Acholi Sub-region. The project affects the sub-counties of Lapono, Omiya-pace, Orom, Paimol and Lira-kato.
Sources  said 46 clans showed interest in renting out land to the investor under the Parish to Market Model, a programme President Museveni launched in February 2023 in Gulu City.
However, Mr Leonard Opio, the Agago District chairman), said: “We demand that the ministry of Lands quickly undertake a detailed investigation to understand the authenticity of the claims of these people that the lands should be registered in the names of land owners and the investor.”
“The land matter is causing a lot of animosity, anger and once not addressed properly, it will result in insecurity, those land givers are being targeted for attacks,” he added at the weekend.

At a ceremony earlier held at Kalongo Town Council on January 4, Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo warned the land minister to keep her ministry away from the suspicious move being mooted with the help of her ministry to aid the investor to secure the land irregularly.

 “I want to caution you, there are issues here and people mix them with the notion and allegation that people here (in Acholi) do not want development. There is no bigger nonsense statement that people here do not want development but when you are beaten once, you are twice shy,” Chief Justice Dollo said.

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