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Bugiri women benefit from Shs2.6b fish farming project

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Women catch fish in Wakawaka Village in Bugiri District on February 26. PHOTO/PHILIP WAFULA

At least 1,400 women in Bugiri District are now able to fend for themselves through a cage fish farming project funded by United Nations (UN) women agency.

The Shs2.6b project, which started in 2019, is based on research by the UN Women agency on gender gaps in agriculture production, which found Bugiri District wanting.

It is set to end on December 31 and is co-funded by Standard Bank South Africa, and the Swedish government, in partnership with Increasing Women Economic Empowerment (IWEE).

Mr Maxime Houinato, the UN Women country representative, said their activities are meant to promote the status of women so that they leave a situation of deprivation and compete with men.

“In Uganda, the best way was in economic empowerment, political empowerment and addressing violence against women,” he said.

According to Mr Houinato, the 1,400 women are in ‘traditional initiation’ into the fish business and one day they will see that the money is little and strive to get more.

He further described the government as a partner which has allowed them to support such a project mostly without paying tax and has given them a license.

Since commencement of the project, the women have harvest an average of 11 tonnes of fish per month and from November 2020 to-date, about 98 tonnes of fish have been harvested, with the fourth harvested coming at the weekend.

Last year, the project set up 14 fish cages and harvested fish which allegedly took a year to consume.

This year, however, the project has set up 28 fish cages and the projection for subsequent years is to sell 36,000 tonnes of fish per year worth Shs2.5b in revenue.

“The project has reduced domestic violence because the women are putting food on the table and restoring gender equality. They are also being paid for their labour though the business is theirs,” Ms Immaculate Were, the project focal person, said.

A visit to Wakawaka Landing Site in Bugiri District, where the project is on-going at the weekend revealed that women were smoking and packing fish in the newly-acquired refrigerator truck for dispatch.

“With the truck, we shall take the fish to the prime market and reduce on the tonnage sold at farm gate, thus increasing on the profits,” Ms Were said.

Ms Gertrude Nabwire, a resident of Wakawaka Village, who has been a member of the project since its inception, said: “I have been renting but since I joined the project, I managed to buy a plot with a small house in it and managed to educate my child up to Senior Four.”

Ms Margaret Apio, also a member of the project and resident of Wakawaka Village, said before she joined the group, she was selling charcoal and tomatoes.

“When I joined, we were trained on how to save and during every harvest we are given money and food. I am in the packaging section,” she said.

Ms Farida Mutesi, also a beneficiary, said she ditched her unprofitable business and fully joined the UN Women-funded project.

“The project has helped me educate my child up to Primary Seven,” she said.

Original Post: Daily Monitor

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Anti-tick vaccine drive gives hope to farmers

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Dairy farmers in Ankole Sub-region are optimistic that the anti-tick vaccine launched by the government will solve their problem of tick resistance to acaricides.
For the last 10 years, dairy farmers across the country have decried tick resistance to acaricides, which has been ravaging the livestock sector.

Mr Emmanuel Kyeishe, a resident of Rushere in Kiruhura District and dairy farmer with more than 100 head of cattle, says dairy farmers in the cattle corridor have battled the problem of tick resistance for a long time.
“The issue of ticks has been rampant in the cattle corridor to the extent of losing our cows. We spend a lot on treating them because of ticks since they infect animals with several diseases,”  he said.

Mr Kyeishe said he loses at least two cows every month to tick-borne diseases like East Coast Fever and heart water.
“I have lost 180 cows in the last five years due to ticks and tick-borne diseases. If they do not die, they get blind and some lose their skin. But if we get a vaccine, it will have saved us a lot,” he said.
Mr Kyeishe added that he has resorted to mixing agrochemicals with acaricides since the available ones on the market are failing.

Mr Jackson Bells Katongole, a dairy farmer in Kashari, Mbarara District, said if the government’s move to have anti-tick vaccine is successful, quality of dairy products would improve.
“A farmer loses at least two to five cows every month and we have resorted to using different concoctions from Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya because the problem of ticks has made us helpless,” he said.
He added: “We had reached the point of mixing pesticides with acaricides because of tick resistance and in the process our cows have gone blind, lost skin and others died.”

Mr Katongole further said each cow that dies is valued at around Shs2.5 million, which means that a farmer loses Shs5 million every month.
The Mbarara City Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrew Akashaba, said in Mbarara alone, there are about 60,000 head of cattle, mostly exotic breeds which are prone to ticks.
“Most of the exotic breeds of cattle are at a high risk of acquiring ticks and tick borne diseases, which are a major hindrance to livestock development in the cattle corridor,” he said.
Mr Akashaba added that between 2,000 and 3,000 cows die annually in Mbarara alone due to tick-related diseases.

While launching the final clinical trial of anti-tick vaccine manufactured by National Agriculture Research Organisation at Mbarara Zardi on Thursday, the deputy director general and research coordinator, Dr Yona Baguma, assured the farmers that once the vaccine is approved, they will be spraying their cattle against ticks twice in six months as opposed to twice a week.

Original source: Monitor

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Farmers fail to access farm inputs on Ministry e-platform

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About 3,640 model farmers in Nebbi District, who were registered under the Agricultural Cluster Development Programme (ACDP) to access agricultural inputs on E-voucher, are stuck after failure of the system.

The farmers say the system has affected their planting patterns.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture cluster Development Programme (ACDP) introduced the e-voucher system five years ago to enable farmers access agricultural inputs electronically.

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Farmers on alert as new banana virus hits Western Uganda

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Farmers should stop getting banana plantlets from districts in Western and North-West Uganda to stop the spread of the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) disease, Hebert Musiimenta, the Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF has advised.

The Banana Bunchy Top Virus was first observed in the western Uganda districts in late 2020. In July this year, the ministry raised a red flag when the disease caused havoc on banana plantations in West Nile, Rwenzori and Tooro regions.

An infected plant presents with severe stunting, narrow leaves, chlorotic leaf margins, and dark green streaks on petioles and midribs. The affected plant also shows a rosette-like or bunchy and choked appearance. Diseased plants rarely produce fruit and when they do, the fruit is stunted and twisted.

The disease is spread by aphids and the planting of affected tubers.

The disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Hebert Musiimenta, Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), says to contain the spread of the disease, farmers should stop getting banana planting materials from Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, and Koboko districts in North-West Uganda and Bunyangabu, Kasese, Kabarore, and Bundibugyo districts in Western Uganda.

He also advises the farmers to be cautious about planting materials from Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, and Isingiro districts since they are near the border.  The disease is suspected to have spread to Uganda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Musiimenta advised farmers in an interview with URN that if they are to pick planting materials, they should first consult agriculture officers in their areas to recommend safe planting materials.

Musimenta revealed that a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries is investigating the prevalence of the virus in Kigezi region specifically districts neighboring Rwanda and DR Congo.

He says the disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.

Original Source: URN via The independent

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