What you need to know:
- Whereas many parts of the country have been receiving plenty of rain, which has caused floods in some areas, some parts of Ntungamo District are experiencing a dry spell.
Farmers in Ntungamo District are counting losses after several hectares of coffee plantation dried up during the dry season between July and September.
Some of the affected farmers had recently ventured into coffee farming thinking it was more lucrative than the other projects they were engaged in such as cattle keeping.
“We were mobilised to plant coffee as an alternative crop. We spent a lot of money and time planting and caring for the gardens. I planted 2,000 trees but I am left with about 500,” Mr Immaculate Tumushabe, a resident of Obuyora Village in Rubaare Town Council, said in an interview on Tuesday.
Mr Francis Karyeija, a resident of Kabungo in Rwenanura/ Kakukuru Town Council, said: “We had just started harvesting. But we were not the only ones affected. Some banana plantations were also destroyed while some people lost cattle.”
He called on the relevant authorities to support the farmers in irrigating their crops, as well as provide them with better-quality seedlings.
He added that there is need to look for market for the farmers’ produce.
Mr Johnson Amos Kanyesigye, a coffee farmer, said there is also a need for more training for farmers on how to address such challenges and others that may arise.
“While we cry over our lost gardens, I think as farmers, we need to be more organised. If the farmers are organised and trained, get good seedlings and then are supported in areas like irrigation, dry seasons would just pass,” Mr Kanyesigye said.
He said he has lost more than eight acres of coffee.
Whereas many parts of the country have been receiving plenty of rain, which has caused floods in some areas, some parts of Ntungamo District are experiencing a dry spell.
The Ntungamo District Agriculture officer, Ms Esther Atwiine, said more than 10,000 farmers were affected by the dry spell.
“The dry spell has caused so many challenges. However, some challenges are a result of poor practices, poor quality seedlings on the market, among others,” Ms Atwiine said.
She added that while the district received funds to support small-scale irrigation, the money was not enough to cater for all the farmers.