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Chia farmers stuck with produce since 2019

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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.

Promise
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

FARM NEWS

Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease

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Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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FARM NEWS

Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases

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ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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FARM NEWS

Ibanda imposes livestock quarantine to curb anthrax

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Ibanda, Uganda.  Authorities in Ibanda district have enforced a quarantine on the movement of cattle and, the sale of animal products following an outbreak of anthrax.

According to the Ibanda District Chief Administrative Officer Ruhemba Kweronda, the district has registered sporadic cases of anthrax disease in Humans who are suspected to have handled meat from infected dead animals.

Kweronda says the disease that was first noticed in November last year was reported in Rugaaga 1 and IV villages of Keihangara Sub County, where nine people who confessed to having slaughtered a dead animal tested positive for Anthrax.

He adds that early this month one person from Mbonwa Parish Rukiri Sub County tested positive and currently 12 people from Kakoma are showing signs. He also said that two animals died abruptly in Kigarama ward Ibanda Municipality and samples have been collected and taken to the laboratory.

According to Kweronda, all slaughter activities and movement of livestock will be temporarily enforced for one month in Ibanda Municipality and Ibanda South Constituency.

He says other measures put in place to curb the spread of the disease include registering all meat handlers in the district, enforcing the requirement by all cattle traders to have cattle trading licenses issued by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, carrying out ring vaccination of all suspected animal species in areas of Keihangara sub county Bisheshe Division, Rukiri Sub County and Kagongo division, but also continue sensitization and surveillance activities.

Dr Hillary Arinaitwe, the District Veterinary Officer says that they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture demanding vaccines.

In December, authorities in Kyotera district enforced a complete ban on the movement of livestock and its products to halt the spread of Anthrax.

For nearly a month, the district has grappled with a rare outbreak of Anthrax. This outbreak has claimed at least six lives and led to several hospitalizations.

Anthrax is a zoonotic caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-like bacteria that produces strong toxins that are dangerous to animals and humans. Ruminants such as cows, goats, and sheep can quickly die with their carcasses showing little signs of infection but in human beings, symptoms begin with a flu-like illness, raised boil-like lesions on the skin.

Meanwhile, officials in Kiruhura District have extended the closure of four animal markets to control the spread of foot and mouth disease in the district.

The four markets are Nyakasahara, Kyiebuza, Kyeshama livestock markets, and Kitura goat Market.

In the Circular from the Kiruhura District Chief Administrative Officer Charles Kiberu Nsubuga, to all lower local council chairpersons dated 12th January 2024, they should ensure continued enforcement of the directive.

Original Source URN via : The Independent

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