Uganda court throws out case against Bidco

Photo Credit: www.bul.co.ug

A Ugandan court has thrown out a case filed by three environmental groups that alleged that Bidco coerced the government of Uganda to de-gazette forest reserves on Bugala Island for the growing of palm oil.

“None of the defendants (Bidco) have entered or cleared any forest reserve and claims to the contrary are false.” Said Judge J. W Kwesinga in his ruling adding that there was no evidence that the company’s activities violated the right a clean healthy environment.

The case filed on public interest moved to stop the vegetable oil development program by Bidco in Kalangala District over deforestation claims of over 18,000 acres of rainforest in the area and that it grabbed land owned by more than 100 farmers. Bidco refuted these claims and stated the land was leased to the company by the government.

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The Kenyan based company, Bidco, has invested over Ksh12.15 million ($120 million) to develop the oil palm plantations in the country, on 6,500 hectares nucleus estate as a model to the farmers and another 3,500 hectares which will be availed to smallholder farmers. The firm also plans to put up a mill and build a refinery in Jinja.

Bidco Uganda on its end welcomed the ruling affirming that the project had followed all standards of maintaining a clean environment and would play its part in developing the community. “The smallholder farmers are happy and the community is happy. Kalangala has become a beacon of progress.” Said Managing Director Kodey Rao.

The plantations have grown to accommodate over 1600 farmers since harvest started in 2010, with farmers earning more than KSh45.6 million ($450,000) July.

By: Humphrey Ngugi

@H_NGUGI

@biznewsKE

editor@biznews.co.ke