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Uncertainty among Karamoja farmers as dry spell persists.

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Karimojong famers prepare their fields for the planting season onset to the rainy period

Kampala, Uganda. There is increasing uncertainty on food security in Karamoja sub-region as crops are beginning to dry up in the gardens due to the prolonged dry spell that has persisted from May to date. The region normally receives one planting season from April to August each year.

Farmers often utilize the season to produce enough food for the whole year. However, with the dry spell continuing to hit the area since the onset of rains in late April, the dry period has stretched unexpectedly until mid-June creating fears of food insecurity among crop farmers in the region.

The dry spell follows heavy rains that also caused crop failure in mid-May due to very wet conditions and waterlogging. Low-lying areas experienced flash floods that washed away seeds. According to some farmers, most of them are waiting for rainfall to resume after ceasing in mid-May. Farmers are hoping to return to their farms despite having gone halfway into the season.

They are yearning to grow crops like sorghum, maize and beans among others. The prolonged drought that is being experienced in most parts of the country is now causing crops to wither in the gardens due to too much sunshine in Karamoja. Veronica Aleo, a farmer from Napak sub county has expressed fears that the situation threatens to leave the region more food insecure compared to the other seasons.

“The dry spell is so long. The problem is drought. We received rainfall for only one week and we planted. Now there is no rainfall. We leave it to God. I hope it will rain. God will not abandon us,” said Lokol who took our reporter to her sorghum garden.

Paul Munyes, another farmer from Lopei sub county, Napak district says that the weather is more unfriendly this year and they are worried that it may be a year of food insecurity and famine. He says most gardens are now drying up. Even with the too lengthy dry spell, Munyes still hopes that the season will improve anytime this month. He is hoping to grow maize, beans and groundnuts if the rains return.

“You wake up thinking … Is the government going or NGOs going to help people? Seeds cannot germinate now as the soils are very dry (you see.) We planted but there was no germination. The gardens are bear. There is nothing,” says Munyes.

John Bosco Akore, a farmer from Panyangara sub county in Moroto district is also concerned about the state of crops following a dry spell. “Crops are almost drying and many families have not grown as yet. Crops would be flowering by now. We are hoping that rains come back soon so that we cultivate. Those weeding are even risking the growth of crops. It’s just too hot now,” he said on phone.

Robert Lokoru, a farmer in Nadunget sub county in Moroto district summed up this year as a dead year for farmers. “We don’t expect much since there is no sign of rainfall in the nearby future,” he said while showing our reporter his brown garden that has no crops because of the dry spell.

Elders from the region are predicting that there may be a long rainy period this year that could go to September. Mzee William Lodou of Rupa sub county in Moroto district says that from experience, if the rains delay starting, they may go some month late than usual.

“It has not been dry for long like this in recent years, but there is the likelihood the rains may go until September this year. If the rains resume, farmers should plant,” he said. On the other hand, a weather forecast by Uganda National Meteorological Authority-UNMA predicted above-normal rainfall in most regions of the country.

For Karamoja region for example, UNMA said March, April and May would experience above normal rainfall. They had warned local governments to prepare for emergencies including disease outbreaks and damaged infrastructure.

Original Source URN via 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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