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Defects on Agoro irrigation scheme push locals out of farms

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Kampala, Uganda |  Farmers in areas neighboring Agoro river are struggling to access water following a change in the design of channels flowing atop of Langiya hills in Agoro sub-county, Lamwo district.

Stretching several kilometers through the North East and Western part of Agoro, Langiya hills provides a natural shield that separates the area from volatile South Sudan. From the hills, flows Agoro river that has over the years bred life to agriculture, one of the predominant economic activities undertaken by the residents besides cattle keeping.

The area, covered in the lavish green vegetation and outstanding scenery, was the food basket for the region until the recent past when it was hit by the effects of climate change. To address the challenge, the government established a gravity-fed scheme with intake from river Agoro to boost crop farming in the parishes of Pobar and Rudi.

Gaudensio Obonyo, a farmer and resident of Pobar parish in Tegot Kwera North village says the first design of the Agoro self-help irrigation project provided water in abundance to farmers who had lost hope in farming due to prolonged droughts in the area. It gave rise to the production of crops like rice, maize, sweet potatoes, green vegetables and sugar cane.

But the design was changed when the government introduced what they said was a modern scheme for a larger population of farmers. The rehabilitation undertaken by the Ministry of Water and Environment cost about 27 billion Shillings and targeted at least 10,000 farmers.

Obonyo however says that unlike the first design which supplied water sufficiently, the new scheme is of no help since water hardly reaches farms due to the deep concrete water canals. Obonyo says he has abandoned rice farming and currently grows maize and green vegetables which are solely dependent on the rainfall cycles.

Lelo Lukol, another farmer and resident of Pobar shares a similar plight. He says the designers of the irrigation scheme erred and dug deep water channels which cannot supply water to the farmlands which are above the channels.

Lukol suggested that the contractors should consider urgently renovating the channel and water reservoir adding that they should be raised above to match with the levels of the farmlands.

He notes that some people are currently using sandbags to raise the water levels flowing from the channels to match their gardens adding that many farmers have also relocated to farm in different areas.

Lamwo district chairperson John Ogwok acknowledges that the design flaws have had setbacks on the success of the irrigation scheme since its rehabilitation. For instance, Ogwok says it has become costly and tedious for local farmers to fill up bags with sand and build it along the water canals to purposely raise the water levels to flow into their farmlands.

Recently, the government, through the Ministry of Water and Environment announced plans to renovate the Irrigation scheme to address the defects. But Ogwok says the commencement of the renovation is slow. He said that some of the farming equipment at the site including is wasting away.

The Water and Environment Ministry’s Spokesperson for Northern Region Brenda Akao told URN that the process for the rehabilitation of the scheme is on course.

Original Article: The Independent

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MAAIF lifts livestock quarantine in Nakaseke after two years

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Nakaseke, Uganda  The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF has lifted quarantine restrictions on Nakaseke district exciting local leaders and pastoralists.

In 2019, the ministry imposed quarantine restrictions on Ngoma, Kinoni sub-counties and Ngoma town council following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

The ministry prohibited the movement of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and their products from, to, through, and within the affected areas as prescribed by the Animal Diseases Act. The quarantine left pastoralists and local leaders crying foul over loss of revenue.

Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Commissioner of Animal Health in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has written to Nakaseke Chief Administrative Officer and other leaders informing them that the quarantine has been lifted.

According to her letter dated 29th July this year, Ademun said that due to increased community awareness about FMD and the strategic ring vaccinations carried in the affected areas, the disease has been controlled.

She added laboratory results of the sampled animals from the sub-counties under movement restrictions have also proved the same.

Ademun said that the quarantine has been lifted but on conditions that all livestock markets remain closed as per the Presidential directives on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and animals must be sold on farms with knowledge of veterinary officers as well as LCI chairman.

She also ordered that the animals must move on trucks only for slaughter purposes and should adhere to all FMD bio security measures.

Dr Lawrence Kisule, the Principal Veterinary Officer of Nakaseke district has confirmed a copy of the letter and said they are going to disseminate information to leaders in affected areas.

Kisule says that on Friday he is expecting to receive 10,000 doses to vaccinate heads of cattle in other sub-counties that include Kito, Kapeeka and Kinyogogga in the fight against FMD.

Kisule added that they are going to communicate fresh guidelines to pastoralists aimed at avoiding fresh outbreaks of the FMD.

Nayebare Kyamuzigita the Nakaseke Resident District Commissioner also asked pastoralists and veterinary officers to exercise responsibility so as not to plunge the area into a second quarantine.

Nayebare said although most veterinary officers had exercised professionalism, there is one who they are hunting for issuing illegal movement permits to cattle traders something that may lead to a fresh outbreak of the disease.

Fred Rwabirinda, the District Secretary for Production says that following the quarantine, each month, the local governments have been losing more than 11 million shillings from cattle markets.

Rwabirinda adds that this had crippled service delivery in the local governments as well as the district.

Sam Mubiru, a pastoralist in Ngoma town council says that residents in the affected areas depend mainly on selling animals and their products but the ban plunged them into abject poverty and this was worsened after imposing another lockdown over COVID 19.

Mubiru added that the lifting of the ban was timely because many of them had run out of options for survival.

Both leaders and residents say they are happy that the Ministry has lifted the ban to enable the pastoralists to earn a living, as well as local governments, to get local revenue.

Original Source: URN Via independent.co.ug

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Kabale banana farmers battle bacterial wilt again

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The disease is spread from an infected plant to another through sharing the same farm implements. It can also be transmitted by insects.

Farmers from Kaharo and Maziba sub-counties in Kabale District are battling a fresh outbreak of banana bacterial wilt.

The outbreak comes barely five years ago after a similar occurrence ravaged banana plantations in Kabale and neighbouring districts of Ntungamo, Mbarara, Rukungiri, Bushenyi and Isingiro.

The disease, which mainly attacks plants past the maiden sucker stage, is characterized by yellowing and complete wilting of leaves.

The LC5 councillor for Kaharo Sub- county, Mr. Gracious Kabeth Tumwine,  at the weekend said most of the affected farmers are from Kaharo, Bugarama and Katenga  parishes.

Mr Tumwine said farmers have  no other option but to destroy the affected suckers.

“We find it difficult to fight the wilt because some of our farmers are not following what agricultural extension workers told us,” Mr Tumwine said.

Mr Ben Kyokwijuka, a farmer from  Maziba, said the disease was spreading rapidly and is threatening the livelihood of residents.

Mr Kyokwijuka said it is resistant to pesticides, adding that the area is likely to face  food shortage.

He added that the disease also has been cited in Kahondo, Karweru and Kavu parishes.

The Kaharo chairman,  Mr Edmond Tumwesigye, said the political leadership was working with the sub-county agriculture extension workers to ensure that the disease is eradictated.

Mr Tumwesigye said they have also started sensitising residents about better farming practices.

The district principal agriculture officer, Mr Deus Bagambana Baguma, asked farmers to comply with the control measures put in place by agriculture extension workers  such as cutting down all the affected plants.

“It is unfortunate that bacteria wilt is coming again in the district but the simple management is that once a farmer identifies an infected banana in his plantation, he should cut the affected part of the banana sucker and then sanitise the tools used or put them in fire so that the disease is not spread to other plantations,” Mr Baguma said.

The district chairperson, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, urged farmers to implement the advice from technical personnel if they want to stop the wilt.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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Uganda coffee exports hit 30-year record

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Ripe coffee

Kampala, Uganda. Uganda exported a record 6.08 million coffee bags in the financial year 2020-2021, the highest total for 12 months in 30 years. Exports for FY20/21 were also worth $559m compared to 5.11m bags worth $496m in FY19/20.

The figures were boosted by June’s 618,388 bags worth US$ 58.56m, which is also the highest in a single month. June exports had an increase of 47% in quantity and value compared to the previous month, with Robusta figures shooting up, while Arabica slowing.

According to a monthly statement from the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), increasing Robusta exports during the month compared to the previous year were due to newly planted coffee which started yielding supported by favourable weather.

UCDA says this was also compounded by a positive trend in global coffee prices in the last two weeks of the month which prompted exporters to release their stocks on top of increased procurement.

The biggest consumer of Ugandan coffee in June was Italy that maintained the highest market share with 34.57% compared with 37.02% last month.

Year 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20  2020/21
Volume (60-kg bag in million) 3.24 3.56 4.2 4.5 4.4 5.11 6.08

 

Value (US$ millions)  $403 $352 $490 $492 $433.95 $496 $559

 

It was followed by Germany 13.11% (14.36%), India 9.52% (5.00%) Sudan 7.81% (4.04%) and Algeria 6.28% (5.80%).

Coffee exports to Africa amounted to 112,416 bags, a market share of 18% compared to 69,349 bags (14%) the previous month. African countries included Sudan, Morocco, Kenya, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa. Europe remained the main destination for Uganda’s coffees with a 61% imports share.

Arabica coffee declines

The decrease in value of Arabica coffee was due to low volumes exported. Arabica monthly exports continued to reduce compared to the previous year attributed to the off-year biennial cycle characteristic of Arabica production.

June’s 618,388 60-kilo bags exports comprised 565,449 bags of Robusta valued at US $ 50.25 million and 52,939 bags of Arabica valued at US$ 8.31 millionThis was an increase of 47.04% and 46.63 % in quantity and value respectively compared to the same month last yea.

By comparing quantity of coffee exported by type in the same month of last Coffee Year (June 2020), Robusta increased by 63.89% and 72.56% in quantity and value respectively, while Arabica exports decreased in both quantity and value by 29.93% and 23.16% respectively.

Farm-gate prices for Robusta Kiboko averaged UGX 2,250 per kilo; FAQ UGX 4,350 per kilo, Arabica parchment UGX 6,650 per kilo and Drugar UGX 5,750 per kilo

Sustainable Arabica fully Washed Sipi Falls fetched the highest price at $5.37 per kilo.

In terms of leading coffee exporters, Ugacof (U) Ltd led the highest market share with 19.86%, followed by Ideal Quality 10.81%, Olam Uganda 10.15, Touron 7.44, Kawacom 6.24, Louis Drefyus 5.90 and Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd 5.6%

READ FULL REPORT >>>>June 2021 coffee

Original Source: Independent.co.ug

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