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Omoro farmers task Naro on crop varieties

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Inspection. Local leaders inspect a farm in Nwoya District where a group of farmers planted improved cassava varieties on March 20. PHOTO BY JULIUS OCUNGI

Omoro. Farmers in Omoro District have asked the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro), to supply crop varieties that are durable.

The farmers argue that whereas crop varieties, especially cassava that Naro supplies to farmers mature fast and give good yields they do not last long in gardens like the indigenous varieties.
Since cassava growing has proved to be profitable, farmers in the district have embraced Nase 14, Nase 19 and Naro Cass, cassava varieties.
But Mr Jimmy Okoi, a farmer in Acet Central Village, Odek Sub-county on Tuesday said improved cassava variety does not guarantee food security in the region.

“The new cassava variety is proving hard to grow at the moment. They grow fast and once they are matured, the tubers start rotting away, the tubers cannot last long unlike the indigenous cassava that stays for more than a year in the garden,” Mr Okoi, who has a three-acre garden of cassava, said.

Mr Okoi said since Naro coordinates agricultural research activities in the country, it should look for alternative ways of improving durability of cassava in the garden.

According to Mr Okoi, improved cassava varieties are not resistant to pest and diseases as opposed to indigenous varieties.
Mr Tony Orach, a farmer in Lalogi Sub-county, said he lost half an acre of cassava, which he planted in his garden last year, after failing to harvest them in time.

“I bought Naro Cass 1 cassava cuttings last year which were released by Naro after being convinced of its high yield, but after eight months in the garden, the tubers started rotting away,” he said.
Mr Orach said he had bought the improved cassava cuttings hoping to supply dried cassava to a distillery factory in Nwoya District.

“I have made a loss from the improved cassava variety. I call on the Agriculture ministry to pile more pressure on public bodies to beef up research on crop varieties that are long lasting for farmers,” he said.
Dr Jimmy Lamo, a scientist at Naro, acknowledged that some improved cassava varieties are not durable in the garden because of their fast maturity.

“It is a good feedback that Naro has got. The farmers, however, should grow the variety on small area; it should help to take them through a lean period of famine,” Dr Lamo said.

Speaking at the sidelines of a farmers and community leaders awareness meeting on agricultural research and technologies in Omoro on Friday, Dr Lamo advised farmers to plant more long term crop varieties.
He, however, refuted claims that the improved varieties are highly susceptible to pest and diseases, saying Naro released cassava varieties that are not only resistant to pest and diseases but also drought .

Dr Lamo instead encouraged the farmers to embrace the improved crop varieties for better quality yields.
The Omoro District production officer, Mr Godfrey Oyet Jomo, said many farmers are still focused on growing durable crop varieties despite the change in weather patterns.
The district chairperson, Mr Douglas Okello, asked the Agriculture ministry to set up an agricultural research centre in the area.

Last month a section of leaders under their umbrella body the Acholi Leaders Forum resolved to subject all seeds distributed under Operation Wealth Creation to a germination test, claiming that some of the seeds earlier distributed did not germinate.

Issues
Improved varieties. Farmers in Omoro District have embraced Nase 14, Nase 19 and Naro Cass, cassava varieties. However, despite the fast maturity, farmers with bulk harvests are finding it hard to store tubers as they easily rot away.

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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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