Farmers want the government to formulate policies favouring and determining the sale of their produce
Kampala, Uganda. Farmers in the Ankole region are demanding that the government be the one to determine and declare standard market prices to save them from being cheated by traders and middlemen.
Market prices for most food crops like beans, maize, banana and groundnuts have lately fallen at the farm gate but increased on consumer market.
Currently, a kilogram of beans goes for 1,600 Shillings at the farmer’s gate while on market, it goes for between 2,500 and 3,000 shillings which according to them is much higher compared to farm price.
The largest bunch of bananas is bought for 4,000 Shillings from the farmer while the market price is between 8,000 and 10,000. Tomatoes prices have also fallen from 130,000 to 80,000 Shillings a box at the farm while in the market a small basin goes for 7,000 shillings.
A similar situation was experienced during last year’s Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and now farmers are expressing a repeat.
Macklin Sabiiti, a farmer in Buyanja wants the government to provide efficient market information which she believes can show positive benefits for both farmers, and traders.
She says since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, prices have failed to stabilize and traders have used this opportunity to cheat farmers noting that up-to-date, current market information would enable farmers to negotiate with traders from a position of strength.
Yason Mwebesa Mushaba, the director of Agriculture Hands-On Africa says the biggest challenge faced by farmers are the middlemen who have monopolized and determine the prices both at gardens and markets.
He now wants government to formulate policies favouring farmers in determining the sale of their produce.
He says that farmers should also consider value addition to their produce, however, Mwebesa says that government should also come on board to assist farmers to get markets without middlemen.
Amos Atukwase, a farmer in Isingiro district says that prices reduce mostly during harvest timebecause produce is plenty compared to the available market.
Petero Bagerize, a farmer says farmers have failed to follow up in the market to understand how the prices which traders and middlemen offer are determined.
He says some farmers sell depending on the problem at home because most farmers use loans to cultivate.
He wants the government to ‘own back’ the buying of products and have stores to collect the produce with a known buyer employed by the government and determine the price.
Muhamed Nyombi, chairperson of the Mbarara Central Market Traders Association agrees with the demand for proper information on prices noting that with clear information of prices to both farmers and traders, the distribution of produce from rural to urban areas would stabilise both market and garden prices.
Emmanuel Kishe, Chairperson of Farmers Association Kiruhura wants farmers to start cooperative societies and unions to have bargaining power.
He says every time the farmer lacks the power to bargain, the more the middlemen and traders benefit.
Godfrey Mutebi, Mbarara district commercial officer faults the middlemen on the price fluctuation, noting that farmers should come together to form a society to give themselves one voice.
He also advises farmers who can afford to always carry their produce to market directly without waiting for middlemen.
According to Food Agriculture Organization, Market Information Services have unfortunately often proven to be unreliable and where they have endured, they have often failed to provide commercially useful advice, confining themselves to the gathering of data that is rarely used.
Original Source: URN via independent.co.ug
Report links 1,600 deaths to pesticide poisoning
A total of 1,599 deaths between 2017 and 2022 were linked to organophosphate (pesticide) poisoning, researchers from Uganda National Institute of Public Health (UNIPH) and the Health ministry found.This information is in one of the reports presented yesterday during the 9th National Field Epidemiology Conference in Kampala.
The study led by Mr Robert Zavuga was based on the data from the District Health Information System (of the Health ministry), which is received from health facilities across the country.“A total of 37,883 (average of 6,314 per year) organophosphate (OP) [health facility] admissions and 1,599 (average of 267 per year) deaths were reported,” the report reads.
OP admission was defined by researchers as a hospital stay due to suspected OP poisoning. In contrast, OP poisoning death was defined as inpatient death with OP poisoning listed as the cause of death.The researchers linked the poisoning to the widespread use of OP pesticides by farmers in the country amid limited knowledge of how to use the pesticides safely.
“Uganda has an agricultural-based economy with widespread use of organophosphate-based pesticides. This elevates the risk for OP poisoning in the population,” the report reads further.According to the report, the overall average incidence was 15 organophosphate admissions per 100,000 persons.
On areas, sex and age that are most affected, the report indicates, “residents of Ankole Sub-region were more affected while those in Lango Sub-region were least affected.”“Males had a higher incidence of organophosphate poisoning than females. Children under 5 years had a higher incidence than persons above 5 years (20 vs 14/100,000),” the report said.
Overall, 1,599 (average of 267 per year) deaths were reported between 2017 and 2022. Residents in Kampala had the highest overall case fatality rate (CFR) while those in Teso had the lowest (CFR: 8.5 percent vs 2.2 percent),” the report reads.
According to the report released yesterday, “there was more than 3-fold decline in incidence of OP poisoning admissions per 100,000 population from 2017-2022,” however, the researchers noted, “there was no significant change in the case fatality rate of organophosphate poisoning.”
“The incidence of organophosphate poisoning admissions declined throughout the study period. Since 2014, Uganda has implemented periodic public awareness campaigns about safe use of pesticides for small-holder farmers and pesticide dealers,” the report says.
“These campaigns have included sensitisation about responsible handling to reduce risk of poisoning and environmental pollution.
Additional campaigns targeting government pesticide regulators, non-governmental organisations, and media have also been implemented to address the dangers of organophosphate poisoning,” it adds.
The report says Uganda has also implemented the Agricultural Chemical Control Act to use less toxic pesticides, which may be contributing to the reduction in organophosphate poisonings.“To continue this decline, it is important to monitor and strengthen these interventions,” the researchers from UNIPH and Health ministry recommended.
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Kigezi In Famine Scare After Drought Hits The Region
Farmers in Rubanda district are living in fear that they may be hit by famine due to the prolonged drought that has greatly affected the area. This comes after the area was hit by heavy rains in the month of May 2023, which left most of the gardens washed away, and since then the dry season has started up to date.
This is the first of its kind for Rubanda district and Kigezi at large to undergo such a prolonged drought.
According to farmers, this is the first of its kind for Rubanda to go through a long drought, adding that they are in fear that they may be hit by famine since they were used to receiving rains at the beginning of August, which is not the case this year. They add that even the seedlings that they had planted excepting that the rains would come have all dried up by the long spell.
Farmers also say that they don’t know what could be the cause that has stopped the rains,adding that the government should come up with a program that provides them with seedlings.
Akampurira Prossy Mbabazi, a woman Member of Parliament for Rubanda District, says that the issue of drought is not only in Rubanda District; however, this is the first of its kind. She adds that the drought comes after the area was hit by heavy rains, which caused a lot of challenges, adding that now it is the drought that may affect the farmers.
Akampurira further says that, as a leader,she will continue to educate farmers on better methods of farming depending on climate change.
Kikafunda Evelyne, founder of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), says it’s sad that farmers in Rubanda district and Kigezi at large are experiencing a long drought. She attributes it to problems of environmental degradation that include swamps being reclaimed, deforestation, and plastic pollution, adding that this is an indication that people don’t mind about the environment.
Kikafunda calls upon all people to take part in protecting the environment, adding that environmentalists should devise means on how to protect the environment.
It’s now been four months since it last rained in the districts of greater Kabale, that is, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga districts, as well as other parts of the Kigezi Subregion.
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