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Chia farmers stuck with produce since 2019



At least 1,000 chia farmers in Gulu  District are still struck with their harvest since 2019, Daily Monitor has learnt.

Between 2018 and early 2019, UN Women and Gulu District local government partnered to boost chia farming aimed at improving the livelihoods of women in the area.

The Shs1.23b project was aimed at empowering more than 2,000 farmers in Patiko, Palaro, Unyama, Paicho and Awach sub-counties.

According to the agreement, UN Women would supply the farmers with chia seeds, tarpaulins and threshing machines for drying and sorting the chia harvests. However, two years later, some farmers are yet to sell their stock under the initiative.

Ms Charity Amono, who planted nine acres of chia, at the weekend told Daily Monitor that she has not received any supported as promised in the agreement.

Ms Amono said together with two other women, they collectively planted 20 acres of chia in Cetkana Village in Atiaba Parish, Awach Sub-county but got only 20 bags.

“We harvested 20 bags only because others got wasted in the garden. The machine they gave us for harvesting broke down. The entire harvesting process went wrong,” Ms Amono said.

She added that the group spent Shs200,000 hiring an acre of land  while she also spent another Shs1.8m to hire nine acres of  land, which costs do not include ploughing, planting, weeding and transport.

While being mobilised to grow chia, the farmers said, UN Women promised them Shs6,000 for a kilogramme of chia upon harvest. However, the only support the  farmers have  received includes seeds and threshing machines.

“When the chia was ready, the seed suppliers sneaked in and started buying the produce at Shs1,000 per kilogramme while others took the produce  on credit and are yet to pay,” Ms Amono revealed.

Mr Michael Omara, a farmer in Omel parish in Paicho Sub-county, said least 100 farmers in his area planted more than 100 acres of chia under the UN Women project.

“Every individual received seedlings but were told we would sell the produce  as a group. I planted two acres and got 18 bags in harvest but have only sold two bags,” Mr Omara said.

He added that they have resorted to using the chia to feed chicken.
“It frustrated us a lot because this thing [chia] cannot be eaten like other food stuff,” he said.

Ms Jennifer Auma, coordinator of  Oruu ki ta, a 30-member group, said  they are still waiting for the buyers.

“We had to look for buyers ourselves and they came from Pader. However, they bought the chia for Shs900 and at most Shs1000. Farmers who did not get buyers got angry and poured their chia. Others gave them away, freely,” Ms Auma said.

Ms Auma said the residents  of Paicho Sub-county harvested an estimated 25 tonnes of chia but the buyers from Pader District took only four tons.

However, Ms Rose Amono Abili, the former secretary for production and marketing at Gulu District local government, said when she was appointed in 2019, the farmers already had the chia in their stores.

Ms Abili said she only met the chia growers once, but registered complaints from them that their produce had taken months in stores yet they were yet to see the promised buyers.

“Unfortunately when we were to settle and start seeking a market as the production department of the district, Covid-19 broke out and movement was restricted and crippled our efforts just like UN Women in their report to us.

Quality issue
Ms Innocent Piloya, who buys and processes chia said Germany, one of the biggest importers of Ugandan chia, rejected the product over quality issues.

The bulk importers reportedly rejected Uganda chia, after they found traces of a chemical they did not recommend, and banned the importation  in Uganda in 2019, she said.
To meet the foreign demands, she said she has restricted her purchase to not more than 10 kilogrammes since the chia is impure and takes a lot of time to sort them.

While being mobilised to grow chia, the farmers said, UN Women promised them Shs6,000 for a kilogramme of chia upon harvest. However, the only support the  farmers have  received includes seeds and threshing machines.

Original Source: Daily monitor

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Robusta coffee hits record high to trade at sh7,500 per kilo in Ibanda



Robusta coffee prices have continued their upward trend by gaining sh1,000 in value over the past month. 

Robusta is trading at a high of sh7,500 per kilogramme of quality beans in Ibanda, while traders quoted low-grade robusta coffee beans at sh7,200 per kilo.

This compares to sh6,500 a kilo four weeks ago and sh5,600 recorded two months back. The sh7,500 per kilo is the highest for Robusta coffee in a long time in Ibanda and surpasses the sh6,900 recorded during the last harvest season.

Deogratias Tihwayo, a coffee trader in Ibanda town, attributed the increase to the quality of this season’s coffee beans compared to previous seasons. He said this has attracted more buyers and, hence, pushed up the prices.

David Kiiza, the chairperson of Kashangura Coffee Co-operative in Kashungura, Kagongo Division, said farmers were observing the recommended agronomical practices that have improved quality and out-turn. 

Meanwhile, Arabica coffee was unchanged over the reporting period, trading between sh8,000 and sh8,500 per kilogramme in Ibanda town and Kashangura. Arabica coffee hit a record high of sh12,000 a kilo last season. 

However, there has been subdued demand over the past months with the crop out of season.

UCDA daily market prices

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) indicative figures for March 20 quoted robusta (clean) at between sh7,000 and sh8,000 a kilo, Arabica parchment sh8,500 – sh9,500, and Kiboko ranged from sh2,300 to sh2,600 per kilogramme, among others.

Source: New Vision

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Falling coffee prices, reduced output forecasts rattle Uganda farmers



There has been a slump in international coffee prices and shipping costs in the last quarter of 2022

Uganda’s coffee industry is walking into a challenging 2023 defined by falling prices and diminished output forecasts following the recent dry spell that hit major growing areas.

While the sector enjoyed a boom between 2020 and 2022 – with surging coffee prices, rising export volumes and considerable incomes for farmers – decline in international shipping costs and improved production forecasts in Brazil triggered a slump in coffee prices in the last quarter of 2022, according to industry players.

International shipping costs dropped from record highs of $10,000 per container charged on certain sea routes in January 2022 to less than $2,000. Shipping fees charged per 20-foot container ferried from Indonesia to North America, for example, are estimated at $800-$1,000 currently.

Consequently, local and international coffee prices have dropped since October 2022.

International robusta coffee prices fell from an average price of $2,400 per tonne to $1,856 per tonne towards the end of last year, according to industry data. Local robusta coffee prices declined from Ush7,200 ($1.9) per kilogramme to Ush5,800 ($1.6) per kilogramme during the second half of 2022 while Arabica coffee prices fell from Ush11,000 ($2.9) per kilogramme to Ush8,000 ($2) per kilogramme in the period.

In 2021, average coffee prices stood at more than Ush15,000 ($4) per kilogramme.

Dry spell

Robusta coffee production accounts for more than 60 percent of Uganda’s overall coffee output.

Besides gloomy coffee price forecasts for 2023, a severe dry spell in the past six months could pose a huge threat to coffee production levels. The weather affected major coffee-growing areas like the Central region and risks cutting this year’s output to around 5.5 million bags, industry players forecast.

“Brazil and Vietnam are headed for a bumper coffee harvest this year while India and Indonesia have discounted their local coffee prices in a way that has undercut Uganda’s growth momentum on the international market,” said Robert Byaruhanga, chief executive of local exporter Funzo Coffee Ltd.

Post-Covid shift

Asian and Latin American coffee exporters are regaining dominance in European and North American markets after the lockdown period because of the lower coffee prices, reduced freight charges, shorter port clearance turnaround times and reasonable coffee quality grades, Byaruhanga explained.

Ugandan farmers are now holding onto their coffee produce in anticipation of better prices.

Overall coffee exports stood at 6.26 million bags valued at $862.28 million in 2021/22 compared to 6.08 million bags worth $559.16 million registered in 2020/21, data from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority shows.

An estimated 447,162. 60 kilogramme bags of coffee valued at $64.1 million were exported in November 2022 at an average price of $2.39 per kilogramme — 6 US cents lower than the average price of $2.45 per kilogramme posted in October 2022.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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Over 40 goats die of PPR disease in Madi-Okollo



At least 43 goats have died of Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) disease, also known as ‘goat plague’ and several others are undergoing treatment in Madi-Okollo district.

Madi-Okollo district veterinary officer, Dr Charles Onzima, says the viral disease, which is related to rinderpest in sheep as well as goats, has claimed the lives of goats in Olali parish in Ogoko sub-county.

He adds that PPR disease was confirmed in the district after 500 local and 94 Boer goats were supplied to families in Olali parish under a poverty eradication programme that he suspects infected the local goats.

43 of the boar goats died while 10 of the local goats of the communities also died of PPR disease.

Onzima says immediately after receiving information about the disease, the veterinary officers got the goats manifesting the signs of PPR that include sudden onset of depression, fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, sores in the mouth, breathing difficulty and death among others.

He says that they have already had three rounds of vaccination for the available goats in the affected area.

Original Source: New Vision Via

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