Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga launched a USD$43M (about sh160b) project which is tailored to addressing the underlying causes of poverty in Busoga.
BUSOGA – Hemmed in by Lakes Victoria and Kyoga, home to the source of the Nile, criss-crossed by many small rivers and swamps draining into the aforesaid lakes and blessed with fertile soils, one would expect Busoga sub region to be one of the richest in Uganda.
Instead, this region, home to over 3.5m people, has, according to Uganda National Bureau of Statics (UBOS), one of the highest proportions of people living below the poverty line only second to Karamoja and Bukedi.
Yesterday, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga launched a USD$43M (about sh160b) project which is tailored to addressing the underlying causes of poverty in Busoga which is as surprising as its embarrassing for a region that has never been ravaged by war.
Dubbed the ‘revolutionizing livestock farming in the greater Busoga”, the five-year project is tailored to implementing an ambitious paradigm shift among the Basoga from focusing on subsisting farming and sugarcane growing to high quality animal husbandry.
The launch was graced by the minister of finance, Matia Kasaija, the one of agriculture, Vicent Bamulangaki Ssempija , China’s ambassador to Uganda, H.E Zheng Zhuqiang, political leaders from Busoga and the top brass of National Animal Genetic Resource Center and Data Bank (NAGRIC&DB) led by its Executive Director, Dr. Charles Lagu.
“Poverty is resident in Busoga where 42% of the people live below the poverty line. This project will go a long way in addressing the underlying causes,” Kadaga said.
The project which has been developed under the auspices of ministry of agriculture will entail using Kasolwe Stock Ranch as a center of Excellency for learning, innovation and genetic improvement of animal breeds.
The project will be implemented by government ministries, agencies and departments most especially NAGRIC &DB.
According to Lagu, the scope of the project will include construction and operationalization of key infrastructure on Kasolwe ranch, revitalization of key water sources, provision of artificial insemination services and capacity building programs for staff and farmers.
Other components of the project will include establishment of a livestock input storage facilities, planting of superior pastures and trees, provision of extension services, building hay bans and silage for dry weather feeding of quality animals and fish cages construction.
With a revitalized Kasolwe, farmers in Busoga will have their local Zebu cattle implanted with embryos of high quality cattle both for milk and beef production as the campaign to haul majority of the people in the region gathers pace.
Studies by Government, Kasaija revealed, have proved that people engaged in animal husbandry have been able to get out of poverty faster than those solely relying on subsistence farming.
His Excellency Zheng Zhuqiang revealed that China is willing to provide market for beef, fish and poultry products from Uganda so long as they are of the requisite standards.
Poverty in Busoga
The issue of poverty in Busoga has for years remained a puzzle with some honchos in government blaming it on people in the region turning their land to sugarcane out growers.
The latest UBOS report indicates that Busoga is at the bottom of the pile in terms of poverty indicators. Busoga has 45% of its people engaged in subsistence farming as compared to the national average of 42%.
The problem with the aforesaid revelation is that UBOS data indicates that between 2013 and 2016, poverty among the faming population increased from 23 to 36%.
Since 2009/10, UBOS indicates, poverty has fallen in all regions except the eastern region of which the 11 districts of Busoga are part.
Anti-tick vaccine drive gives hope to farmers
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
Farmers fail to access farm inputs on Ministry e-platform
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.
Farmers on alert as new banana virus hits Western Uganda
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
Witness Radio Milestones1 week ago
Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.
Special Reports And Projects2 weeks ago
Farmland values hit record highs, pricing out farmers
Witness Radio Milestones3 days ago
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.