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Farmers decry low prices of vegetables

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Farmers tend to their cabbage. The farmers attributed the drastic fall in prices to closure of weekly markets and the ban on inter-district travel.

Farmers, who grow vegetables at Bumusse Irrigation Scheme in Manafwa District, have decried low prices of their products.

The farmers attributed the drastic fall in prices to closure of weekly markets and the ban on inter-district travel.

The government early this month imposed the restrictions in a bid to contain the surging cases of coronavirus in the country.

In an interview with Daily Monitor on Monday, Mr Fred Wekesa, a farmer, said they currently sell a sack of cabbage at Shs15,000 down from Shs30,000.

“The prices have dropped for instance, we are selling tomatoes at Shs 500 a kilogramme yet we used to sell them at Shs1,500,” he said.

However, Mr Gideon Nate Israel, a pump operator and farmer, said despite the low prices, the scheme has improved their livelihoods.

He said before the scheme started, he used to grow cabbages and tomatoes, which would fetch him not less than Shs900,000 a year.

“But now I earn more than Shs1 million just in one season and about Shs12 million in a year. I am doing good business,” he said.

Mr John Mukhooli, another farmer, said they have also managed to buy more land and open up new businesses.

“I started with one plot of land but now I have five plots. I also own cows and I have started a bar,” he said.

Mr John Wekesa, the Bumusse Village chairperson, said the irrigation scheme has also reduced unemployment levels because it employs many youth..

Mr Sam Muse, the Bukusu Sub-county chairperson, said the scheme has helped his community members to fight poverty and improve their living standards.

Mr Muse, however, said Covid-19 restrictions have affected the farmers’ earnings for the past two years.

He said farmers give back 10 per cent of the money they get in a season for maintenance and sustainability.

“The 20 per cent is saved for future use and 70 per cent is for their daily expenditure,” he said.

Backgrond

The Bumusse Irrigation Scheme, which sits on 15 acres of land in Bumusse Village in Bukusu Sub-county, was established in 2018 by the Ministry of Water and Environment to promote commercial agriculture.

The scheme was lobbied for by area woman MP, Ms Mary Goretti Kitutu.

The scheme now provides a stable water supply for growing vegetables throughout the year even in the period of dry spell.

Ms Kitutu said the farmers were zoned in specific projects as part of the government programmes to fight poverty and unemployment.

“The farmers’ income levels are much better than they were six years ago. They are now more organised and enterprising,” she said.

Ms Kitutu said a total of 2,000 women entrepreneurs in the district are also organised in associations and are growing  passion fruits, irish and sweet  potatoes, cabbage, avocado, watermelon, among others.

“Other groups are specialised in  crafts making, tailoring, catering services but all this in bid to improve on their household income,” she said.

Original Source: 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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