WATER TRANSPORT: The Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) on Saturday May 27th 2023, commissioned MV Palm adding to a fleet of 12 ferries operated by the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) across various water bodies in Uganda.
With seating capacity of 519 passengers; ability to carry 25cars, MV Palm is the largest ferry in the fleet. Set to connect Buikwe & Buvuma Districts
While commissioning the Vessel, the Minister of Works and Transport Gen. Katumba Wamala said The ferry will replace MV Buvuma connecting the people in the areas of Buvuma to Kiyindi in Buikwe district.
“The state-of-the-art vessel accommodates 519 seated passengers & 25 cars making it a valuable asset to our operations, connecting Buikwe & Buvuma Districts,” he said
The MV Palm was procured by the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries through the National Oil Palm Project (NOPPUG) with support from the international Fund for Agricultural Development (IFA) and will be managed by UNRA under the Ministry of Works and Transport
The Vessel will help to boost agricultural activities in Buvuma Islands.
The MV Palm Uganda docked at Portbell, Luzira on February 23rd, from Tanzania where it was built from.
The launch of this additional Vessel followed complaints from farmers that their produce takes long to reach the market due to transport challenges since there is only one ferry connecting to the island district. Buvuma, which is on Lake Victoria, comprises 52 islands with only one ferry MV Buvuma.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), through the National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) with funding from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), contracted Sorongo Marines Shipyard in Mwanza, Tanzania to design, build and deliver MV Palm Uganda, a ferry for Kiyindi-Buvuma route.
The vessel, whose capacity doubles the existing MV Buvuma ferry, costed $ 3,360,500 (about Shs12 .5billion) with four Engines fitted with the necessary navigation and safety equipment
The National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) project is implemented in the mainland areas located in a narrow belt (25-30 km) along Lake Victoria and surrounding the two island districts of Kalangala and Buvuma, but also areas in the western (Bundibugyo, Masindi) and north-western (Arua) parts of the country.
The Buvuma Island project was established on 7,500 hectares with 5,000 dedicated to the nucleus estate while the rest of the land (2,500) is for smallholder farmers. The nucleus estate is managed by Buvuma Oil Palm Limited (BOPL), a joint venture between the private sector, government and farmers.
Commercial oil palm growing in Uganda started in Kalangala in 2006. Harvesting started in 2010 with crude palm oil shipped to Jinja where Bidco owns a refinery that makes cooking oil and soap among other products.