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Farmers stuck with sugarcane



Sugarcane farmers in Busoga are stuck with about 7.5 million tonnes of sugarcane after millers allegedly failed to consume them.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on Wednesday, the Busoga Sugarcane Out-growers Association (BSGA) spokesperson, Mr Godfrey Naitema, said the millers are only processing own sugarcane and leaving theirs to dry in the gardens.

“The canes are drying in the gardens because they are above the maturity age of 18 months. Most of them are now between 24 to 30 months and the sugar content is deteriorating,’’ he said. He added that farmers are incurring losses because most of them acquired loans from banks to grow the canes.

Burnt sugarcane rejected
In their June 29 letter to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the farmers say they have been left in a difficult situation after millers notified them that they would no longer purchase any burnt sugarcane.

They want Parliament to subsidise farmers insurance so that it is affordable to them in the process of mitigating the risk of fire.

The outgrowers association (BSGA) says farmers have incurred a loss of more than 500 acres, totalling about 20,000 tonnes (worth Shs2b) to wild fires yet they acquire most of the money from banks.

Ms Kadaga on her Twitter handle said as Parliament, they have been informed about the plight of sugarcane farmers in Busoga, who have more than 7.5 million tonnes of sugarcane that the millers will not buy. She said they will follow up the matter.

Although the farmers had started exporting sugarcane to Kenya, the association chairperson, Mr Isa Budhugo, said the three-month contract has not been renewed.

“We were barred from exporting sugarcane because Kenyan factories had abandoned the sugarcane from Kenyan farmers. Factories were transporting sugarcane from gardens in Kenya yet they were not incurring that cost on Ugandan sugarcane,’’ he said.

In June, last year, farmers started exporting sugarcane to Kenya following a reduction in its prices from Shs175,000 in 2017 to Shs120,000 per tonne in 2019.
The chairperson of Uganda Sugarcane Manufactures’ Association, Mr Jim Kabeho, said it true there is excess sugarcane that cannot be consumed.

“Kakira sugar works consumes 35 per cent, and 70 per cent of the sugercane comes from farmers; but it is true the supply is higher than demand,’’ he said.
Mr Kabeho said they need regulation, which will create close cooperation between factories and farmers.

Sugar Bill
In December, last year, government promised to establish a sugar factory in Kamuli District as part of its plans to improve the standard of living of the people in the region. The process is underway.
On April 28, the Sugar Bill was gazetted into an Act after the President assented to it, months after he first rejected it over the zoning policy.
A tonne of sugarcane costs Shs110, 000, while the factory price of a 50-kilogramme bag of sugar costs Shs134,000.
The market price of a kilogramme of sugar is Shs3,000 in some parts of the country.

Original Post: Daily Monitor

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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

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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.

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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

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