Gov’t Launches MV Palm Ferry for Buvuma Islands

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The Insight Post Uganda

The Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) recently commissioned a modern ferry named ‘MV Palm-Uganda’ that will operate on Lake Victoria, connecting Kiyindi landing site in Buikwe district to the Islands at Kirongo in Buvuma district.

The state-of-the-art vessel, built by Songoro Marine Transport Limited in Tanzania, was secured through the National Oil Palm Project with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The ferry, with a cost of approximately $3,360,500 (about sh12.5 billion), was handed over to the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) under the Ministry of Works and Transport for management.

The primary aim of the newly commissioned ferry is to bolster agricultural activities in Buvuma Islands while enhancing trade.

MV Palm-Uganda ferry to connect Buvuma from Kirongo landing site to the mainland at Kiyindi landing site in Buikwe district.

It comes as a relief to residents, particularly farmers in Buvuma and Buikwe districts, who have been facing challenges in transporting their agricultural produce such as bananas, coffee, maize, tomatoes, rice, beans and others to the markets in a timely manner.

The previous ferry had been experiencing mechanical breakdowns, which led to a reduction in the number of scheduled trips from four to two. Sometimes, they would spend days and weeks down causing losses to the residents and the business community. This situation severely impacted the planned cultivation of oil palm in Buvuma district, as crucial farming supplies could not be delivered on time.

Buvuma MP, Robert Migadde Ndugwa (left) speaking to Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala (second left) while at the ferry during its commissioning.

However, the ‘MV Palm-Uganda’ offers a solution to these transportation challenges. With a capacity of 519 passengers and 25 vehicles, equipped with four engines and essential navigation and safety equipment, it provides double the capacity of the old MV Buvuma ferry.

The 230-tonne vessel features roll-off sides, enabling vehicles to drive straight on and off the ferry. Moreover, it can operate continuously for 24 hours without any interruptions.

The launch was conducted by Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Works and Transport together with the State Minister for Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga and the State Minister for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa. In attendance, was the Buvuma Member of Parliament, Robert Migadde Ndugwa, Buvuma district chairman, Adrian Wasswa Ddungu, RDC Buvuma, Jacqueline Birungi, deputy RDC Patrick Mubiru, the Under Secretary Ministry of Health, Ronald Ssegawa, Susan Lakwonyero, the acting Project Manager for National Oil Palm Project (NOPP), among others.

Ministers, Katumba Wamala of Works and Transport, Fred Bwino for Agriculture and Hellen Adoa of Fisheries, joined by other officials to launch the new MV Palm for Buvuma district.

Gen. Katumba urged residents to maximize the use of the ferry, encouraging them to actively participate in farming and trade, now that the transportation challenge on water has been resolved by the government.

The residents of Buvuma expressed their joy and relief during the ferry’s commissioning. The MP Migadde highlighted the significant time savings that the new ferry would bring, as it has the capacity to accommodate a larger number of passengers and their goods.

Previously, people would often experience long delays and even be left behind when the old ferry encountered mechanical problems.

Amir Kiggundu, the councillor representing Kiyindi Ward at Najja Town Council, Buikwe district, while attending the commissioning expressed his overwhelming joy having witnessed the government replacing various ferries in the past.

The Buvuma locals celebrating the arrival of MV Palm-Uganda ferry to Buvuma on Saturday for commissioning.

Kiggundu considers the new MV Palm-Uganda ferry to be beyond imagination and is confident that it will greatly alleviate transportation challenges in the area.

The commissioning of this new ferry marks a significant milestone for Buvuma, promising improved trade opportunities and enhanced agricultural productivity, while ensuring smoother and more reliable transportation for the residents.

MP Migadde cuationed the locals in Buvuma to work harder in order to get goods to be transported to the market using the new ferry.

Tourism Potential

The commissioning of the new ferry at Buvuma Island not only facilitates trade and agricultural activities but also holds immense potential for tourism development.

The beautiful scenery for Buvuma Islands which is part of the tourism attractions.

By improving connectivity, enhancing access to natural wonders, preserving cultural heritage, and stimulating the local economy, the ferry acts as a catalyst for tourism growth in the region.

Buvuma Island’s scenic beauty, rich biodiversity, and vibrant culture can now be showcased to a wider audience, attracting tourists from near and far.

Through responsible tourism practices and community involvement, Buvuma Island has the opportunity to become a sustainable and sought-after destination, offering unforgettable experiences and contributing to the overall growth and prosperity of the region.

Value for Money

The ferry represents a prudent investment by the government, ensuring value for money for both passengers and taxpayers. Equipped with modern amenities and safety features, the ferry offers a comfortable and enjoyable journey across Lake Victoria.

MV Palm-Uganda ferry while at Kirongo landing site in Buvuma for commissioning on Saturday.

The vessel’s capacity to accommodate 519 passengers and 25 vehicles allows for efficient transportation of both people and goods, maximizing the utilization of resources and optimizing operational costs.

With its durable construction and efficient performance, the ferry promises long-term sustainability, minimizing the need for frequent repairs and replacements.

Time Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of the ‘MV Palm-Uganda ferry is its ability to save travellers precious time.

By providing a direct and efficient route between Buikwe and Buvuma districts, the ferry reduces travel time considerably compared to alternative modes of transportation.

A speed boat ready for rescue just in case need arises.

Previously, travellers had to rely on longer, more arduous routes or irregular boat services, leading to significant delays and inconveniences.

The introduction of the new ferry streamlines travels and eliminates unnecessary time wastage, allowing passengers to reach their destinations promptly and engage in productive activities, whether for business or leisure.

The Ministry of Agriculture Under Secretary Ronald Ssegawa said MV Palm-Uganda only takes 25 minutes from Kiyindi landing site to Kirongo in Buvuma, unlike the previous ferries which took one hour and over. Ssegawa stressed that with all the beauties on MV Palm, it’s for free of charge.


The ‘MV Palm contributes to increased affordability in L. Victoria travel, benefiting both locals and tourists. The ferry’s fare structure is designed to be accessible and competitive, ensuring that transportation costs remain reasonable for passengers.

The locals in Buvuma rushing to enter the new MV Palm-Uganda ferry as it had just landed at Kirongo landing site for its commissioning.

This affordability factor opens up opportunities for individuals, families, and businesses to utilize the ferry as a preferred mode of travel, promoting inclusivity and economic participation.

Still, by reducing transportation expenses, the ferry will enable travellers to allocate their resources more efficiently, facilitating increased spending on other essential goods and services.

MV Buvuma ferry on water from Kirongo-Buvuma to Kiyindi in Buikwe district.



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