The vice Chairperson of Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) has urged farmers in Bugisu to continue tending their coffee farmlands despite several ongoing restrictions imposed by the Government in the battle against Coronavirus. So far, Uganda has 33 confirmed cases of COVID – 19.
John Musila, also LC V Chairperson for Manafwa district, made the appeal while chairing a meeting of executive members of the Union at BCU offices in Mbale.
“Use the current restrictions on movement as an opportunity to spend more time at your farms and tend them,” Musila advised.
David Mafabi, BCU’s Public Relations Officer, also believes that the ongoing lock down could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for farmers in the Bugisu sub-region.
“Many farmers have now retreated to their farmlands, and as a result, I hope that by the time the restrictions are over, Bugisu will experience a bumper harvest of both cash and food crops,” he said.
Although the presidential directive permitted the continued movement of public transport vehicles for trading and other commercial purposes, members were reminded of the need for caution while conducting trade.
“COVID-19 is real and it kills. For that reason farmers have to take extra precautions while trading with people from different areas amidst this deadly pandemic,” said Musila.
Mafabi says that farmers have been sensitised on how they can avoid contracting the deadly virus.
“We dispatched a team from the Union to educate the farmers on issues of health, especially regarding issues of the Coronavirus, since it is key.”
According to Mafabi, Bugisu Cooperative Union, one of the oldest in the country, has big plans for the future, albeit they have been temporarily hampered by the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
“We plan to establish a cattle farm in Bunambutye that will help farmers in Bugisu to restock their animals. A total of 3,400 acres of land have been put aside for that project,” he reveals.
“Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have temporarily scaled down our operations, especially in urban areas where the rate of human contact is high. But the moment the stay home days are over, we will resume with our normal activities in the region,” he told theCooperator.
Bugisu sub-region is famed for its Arabica Coffee. Other crops grown in the region include onions, tomatoes, water melon and bananas to mention but a few.
Bugisu Cooperative Union currently comprises 274 primary cooperative societies, according to Mafabi.