What you need to know:
In some instances, according to agricultural experts, the heavy treatment of soil with fertilisers has led to the decline in soil fertility in some farmlands on the River Nile bank
Farmers from West Nile districts of Adjumani and Yumbe have continued to use fertilisers which affects their lives and farming knowingly or unknowingly.
In some instances, according to agricultural experts, the heavy treatment of soil with fertilisers has led to the decline in soil fertility in some farmlands on the River Nile bank.
They said the heavy release of agrochemicals causes acute health effects, including itching eyes, rashes, blister, blindness, dizziness and death.
And in the environment, excessive use of inorganic fertilisers often leads to the contamination of ground water with nitrate, a chemical compound that in large concentrations is poisonous to humans and animals.
Mr Stephen Odu, one of the farmers in Adjumani District, said at the weekend that there is increased use of herbicides.
“Some of the farmers have little knowledge of handling the chemical that is why you see some failed to handle it. Dealers in fertilisers run many adverts on local radio stations to entice farmers but they don’t give out the disadvantages of the use of these chemicals,” he said.
“Use of organic fertilisers like animal droppings can help but the agro ecological chemicals are expensive. The tomatoes sprayed with these chemicals do not taste like those grown naturally. It is better to use compost manure for the farms,” he added.
Ms Margret Masudio, the chairperson for Women Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF), said: “Farmers use bare hands to mix it, and their eyes, noses and mouths are never protected. They then develop skin problems. We need to sensitise these farmers on usage of agro-chemicals.”
Mr William Amanzuru, the team leader of Friends of Zoka Forest, said: “Our regulatory system has loopholes where some of the agrochemicals used are not recommended. This puts human life at high risk because we do not regulate what we consume and we equally do not know about the plants or vegetables we consume.”
Mr Amanzuru added that there is need to need to guard against the environmental destruction caused by the heavy use of fertilisers.