Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja
All imported agricultural inputs imports will be passed through gamma ray scanners at all points of entry, authorities have revealed.
Inputs deemed unfit for the market will be blocked at that point and, subsequently, the importer will be suspended indefinitely.
According to the agriculture ministry, importation of agricultural inputs will be limited to just a handful of people, and just those dealing in genuine products.
These measures are part of the new plans by the agricultural ministry, intended to curb the distribution of fake agricultural fertilisers, seeds and pesticides.
Farmers lose millions of shillings annually due to poor yields as a result of using fake inputs on the market.
How the technology works
Vincent Ssempijja, the agriculture minister, said they are in the final stages of procuring contractors who will setup gamma-ray scanners at both the airports and border points for that purpose.
The minister made the remarks yesterday ( Tuesday, September 15, 2020) in an interview with New Vision, just after addressing journalists on the second cropping season at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
Ssempijja said the procurement and installation of scanners will cost an estimated $28m (about sh103b).
“Counterfeits have greatly affected us on the international market.
Our produce has received a red flag and it is hurting the sector. We hope that when we introduce this technology, we will weed out the wrong characters,” he said.
The scanners, he said, will be linkedo other existing inspection systems used by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) and that used by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
This will enable tracking of the consignments, both from the country of origin, through the ports and to the
Once the consignment reaches the border point, samples will not be picked like it is currently done.
Instead, the gamma-ray scannerswill scan through the container and establish whether they conform to what the source company released.
“If the source companies are the trouble causers, we will also suspend them. But we know, the biggest cause of counterfeits are concocted by dealers,” Ssempijja said.
According to him, the dealerschange the original inputs and rebrand them after mixing counterfeits.
Much as he said that the technology will come soon, he declined to give the projected dates and the source of the funds.
He also asked farmers to always note that all quality farm inputs have a hard quality seal from the agricultural ministry. Those without, he said, should not be bought.
“Every farmer should keep the container of whatever input they buy from a dealer. They should also keepreceipts. Once the input fails to work, report to the sub-county extension workers who will report to the district and we will have feedback at the headquarters.
Immediately, the dealer or company will be suspended,” he said.
Last year, the European Union reportedly accused Uganda of exporting poor quality products and also of shipping products that presented with high contents of poorly mixed agrochemicals used to treat or preserve them.
Subsequently, the EU reportedly rejected and destroyed several consignments of agriculture exports shipped to Europe recently.
Every imported item into EU is checked to verify if it conforms to the set standards. Items that fall short of these standards are intercepted.
According to the EU, the measures are vital to protect human and animal health.
What farmers say
Grace Musimami, the publicity secretary at the Uganda National Farmers Federation, welcomed the development, but asked government to crack a whip on traders in counterfeit inputs.
“We have made this a song. We need hefty penalties on whoever is found with counterfeits.
Most of these people are known and there is nothing done to them. Once counterfeits are got, they just destroy them and that’s all. We should ban those people from operating in the sector,” he said.
In addition, he said, the ministry should deploy input inspectors at all levels who will help farmers detect counterfeits.
Ssempijja warned that the second season of crops is expected to be short, with rains expected to stop in December.
At the moment, he said, farmers would have planted as early as August.
He advised farmers to plant early-maturing crops and drought-resistant ones.
Source: New Vision
Kigezi In Famine Scare After Drought Hits The Region
Farmers in Rubanda district are living in fear that they may be hit by famine due to the prolonged drought that has greatly affected the area. This comes after the area was hit by heavy rains in the month of May 2023, which left most of the gardens washed away, and since then the dry season has started up to date.
This is the first of its kind for Rubanda district and Kigezi at large to undergo such a prolonged drought.
According to farmers, this is the first of its kind for Rubanda to go through a long drought, adding that they are in fear that they may be hit by famine since they were used to receiving rains at the beginning of August, which is not the case this year. They add that even the seedlings that they had planted excepting that the rains would come have all dried up by the long spell.
Farmers also say that they don’t know what could be the cause that has stopped the rains,adding that the government should come up with a program that provides them with seedlings.
Akampurira Prossy Mbabazi, a woman Member of Parliament for Rubanda District, says that the issue of drought is not only in Rubanda District; however, this is the first of its kind. She adds that the drought comes after the area was hit by heavy rains, which caused a lot of challenges, adding that now it is the drought that may affect the farmers.
Akampurira further says that, as a leader,she will continue to educate farmers on better methods of farming depending on climate change.
Kikafunda Evelyne, founder of Green Environment Promotion (GEP), says it’s sad that farmers in Rubanda district and Kigezi at large are experiencing a long drought. She attributes it to problems of environmental degradation that include swamps being reclaimed, deforestation, and plastic pollution, adding that this is an indication that people don’t mind about the environment.
Kikafunda calls upon all people to take part in protecting the environment, adding that environmentalists should devise means on how to protect the environment.
It’s now been four months since it last rained in the districts of greater Kabale, that is, Rubanda, Kabale, and Rukiga districts, as well as other parts of the Kigezi Subregion.
Ban GMOs in Africa, farmers urge govts
A cross section of residents from the oil-rich Albertine Region have petitioned African heads of state to ban genetically modified organism (GMOs) and crops across the continent to save Africa’s indigenous crops and animal species from extinction.
The August 26, petition addressed to President William Ruto of Kenya, the Chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, asks African heads of states who are meeting this week for Africa Climate Dialogue to pass strong resolutions to ban GMOs.
Africa Climate Dialogue kicks off today in Nairobi, Kenya under the theme “Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the World.”
Co-hosted by the Kenya and the African Union Commission, it brings together heads of state and Government, policymakers, civil society organisations, the private sector, multilateral institutions and the youth to design and catalyse actions and solutions for climate change in Africa.
The petitioners under the Uganda Oil Refinery Residents, have made a raft of recommendations including passing a strong resolution to immediately ban the use and promotion of GMO products in African countries, a resolution for promotion of indigenous species of plant seeds and animals in all African states and another resolution to increase budget allocation for agriculture with focus on research in preservation and conservation of indigenous species of plants and animals in Africa.
“This will contribute to knowledge sharing and awareness creation on the relevance of indigenous species as a response to climate change,” the petition recommends, adding: “Lastly, pass resolution to integrate indigenous agriculture practices in education curriculum in some relevant subjects like agriculture and biology in all African countries. This will enable preservation and increased knowledge among the young people on the need to preserve and promote indigenous species.”
The petitioners, drawn from Kabaale and Busheruka sub-counties in Hoima District Uganda where there are planned oil refineries and other infrastructure, say GMOs present a number of risks and their introduction onto the continent could have a huge negative impact on food security, indigenous crops and organisms, health risks and associated problems.
The petitioners say while different African states have made a number of policies, laws and commitments regarding climate change, including integrating the aspect of climate justice into their different state legislations, as a grass root community whose livelihood entirely depends on agriculture, they still believe that leaders have not done enough to respond to these calamities.
“The major concern is about the use and promotion of genetically modified organisms [for both plants and animals] in Africa.
Uganda, whose backbone is agriculture, once known for its indigenous plants and animals now faces many difficulties in dealing with these invasive species. Maintenance and management strategies of these species require a lot of capital in terms of purchasing inputs such as fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, among others,” the petition reads in part.
The petitioners say with the worsening climate change, the introduction of one season fast maturing plants has made it difficult for farmers to plan. They argue that GMOs, which they claim are invasive species onto the continent, cannot withstand climate change and weather vagaries and therefore increase food insecurity on the continent.
“As earlier stated, these species require many inputs in terms of chemicals like fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, processed feeds, and vaccines, among others that are all expensive for the ordinary African farmers,” they add in the petition.
The petitioners also contend that in Africa, more than 85 percent of grass root communities heavily rely on rain-fed agriculture and that the ‘invasive species’ are not resistant and not compatible with the local environmental conditions.
“As such, they require effective irrigation as an alternative, which is extremely expensive for grass root communities. Whereas these GMOs were initially introduced as a solution to enhance agricultural productivity and food security, there has been a concerning trend of a financial strain on communities due to the high costs associated with these invasive species,” the petition states.
“Buying seasonal seeds for planting and agricultural inputs to manage these species among others is not sustainable and oftentimes leads to significant drain of limited financial resources within the communities. The local farmers are often compelled to divert funds from other essential needs such as education, healthcare and basic infrastructure development,” the petition adds.
They also say there is an increased outbreak of pests and disease, which is attributed to the increase in temperatures caused by the changing climate. Unfortunately, they say, GMOs are prone to attack by these pests and diseases.
They also say the GMOs present huge health risks to the local communities, who are illiterate and do not understand the precautions to follow while using these pesticides and herbicides.
This, according to the petition, exposes the users to high risks of contracting diseases through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact that can lead to acute and chronic health related issues.
“These include respiratory diseases, skin irritations, neurological disorders, and even certain types of cancers in the end. Most grass root women are also worried about the consumption of these genetically modified organisms since they are mainly treated with chemicals; others are injected with hormones to increase their shelf-life spans,” the petition states.
Source: Daily Monitor
NEBBI: Livestock disease kills 14,000 goats
Nebbi, Uganda. The Nebbi district veterinary department is struggling to contain an outbreak of the Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP), a disease which is highly fatal in cattle and other hoofed animals.
At least 14,650 goats have died and 53,397 goats have been infected following the outbreak of the disease which was first reported in 2022.
According to the local authorities, the disease has since spread to a cross all the sub counties like Erussi, Nebbi ,Alala Jupangira Atego ,Ndhew and Kucwiny as well as Nebbi Municipality.
Moreen Awekonimungu, a livestock farmer in Nebbi Municipality says that she has so far lost three goats since the outbreak was reported a year ago. She further notes that an infected animal dies within two weeks after presenting with signs and symptoms of the disease.
The Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP) is an infectious disease caused by mycoplasmas and it mostly affects ruminants.
The diseases are transmitted through direct contact and inhalation of droplets from infected animals. Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, coughing, difficult respiration, edema, and lung tissue abnormalities.
Emmauel Ongeitho, the Nebbi Municipality assistant veterinary officer blames the persistence of the diseases on the poor attitude of farmers against vaccination of their livestock. According to Ongeitho several farmers shunned the mass vaccination exercise which resulted in a spike in livestock deaths.
According to Dr. William Abedkane, the principal veterinary Officer for Nebbi district, the outbreak which started last year has been killing goats silently since farmers are hesitant to report the cases to the veterinary officers in their respective sub counties.
Abedkane further appealed to farmers to pay attention to animal health just like they do with their own health.
According to information from the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the outbreak of Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia (CCPP disease was first confirmed in Uganda in 1995 in Karamoja region.
Original Source: URA Via The Independent.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
A multi-billion project funded by AfDB and NDF is furthering poverty and food insecurity in Paten community targeted for a development project.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK5 days ago
Pushing back: The EACOP victim community rushes to court seeking reinstatement onto their land and compensation.
NGO WORK2 weeks ago
Almost 2,000 land and environmental defenders were killed between 2012 and 2022 for simply standing up to protect our planet and us all from the accelerating climate crisis.