By Annita Matsika, Radio West/NECJOGHA
Kanungu, Uganda – Residents of Rutenga sub-county in the western Uganda district of Kanungu are celebrating the completion of Rutenga-Kirembe community road.
The construction of the 8.2 km road by International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) started in July last year and ended in August this year at a cost of shs.1.2bn. The road was officially opened last month.
The project has been funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in partnership with Kanungu District Local Government.
Farmers can now easily access market centres and transport costs have reduced by half.
Timber cutting and growing of tea, rice, potatoes and vegetables are the main sources of income for the people in the area.
Juvenal Kihembo, a local farmer in Nyamirengyere village, said the cost of transport has reduced from Ushs10,000 to Ushs 4, 000 on boda-boda from the area to Kanungu town while taxis now charge Ushs3,000 down from Ushs 6,000.
“The construction of the road has not only reduced transport costs. The transport fare for expectant mothers or any other patients in critical condition, from Katojo Trading Centre to Kisizi hospital, that used to be Ushs 100,000, is now Ushs 40, 000,” Kihembo said.
The area member of parliament, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi and the Kanungu district vice chairperson, Gad Byomuhangi said the district had failed to reconstruct the road because of lack of funds.
IFDC gave all the money while the district availed road equipment and technical staff from the engineering department.
“Doing election campaign in this area was a big problem because in 2016, local residents carried posters to the campaign rallies reading, No roads No votes.’Iam so grateful to the government of Uganda that donated the road equipment,” Dr. Baryomunsi said during the commissioning of the road.
“Make sure that you maintain this road so that it can serve you for generations,” he added.
The IFDC chief of party in Uganda, David Slane, said their main objective in constructing the road was to facilitate market access.
He added that the road will bridge economic divide through improved productive agriculture operations.
“This completed road project will generate social benefits such as access to health and education which will contribute to poverty eradication and generating employment,” he said.