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Makerere researcher to Kikuube farmers: Form cooperatives to benefit from farming

KIKUUBE, June 4, 2024 – Farmers in Kikuube district have been challenged to form cooperatives or join existing ones to be able to benefit from farming as a business.

The call was made recently by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi, the Principal Investigator at Makerere University during a sensitisation meeting of rice farmers about the modern agronomic methods of rice growing organised by Makerere University in Kicaaya cell, Kikuube town council.

Musinguzi noted that there is a need for farmers, especially those engaged in rice growing to get organised into cooperatives, saying this would give them a single voice, a better market, financial support, and quality inputs like seeds, and fertilisers.

He noted that individual farmers face many challenges that range from lacking a voice, being cheated by middlemen who offer low prices, and lack of financial support.

The researcher noted that Makerere University is engaging with different seed companies, financial institutions, and those dealing in fertilisers to support farmers in cooperatives.

“As Makerere University, next year we will not work with any farmer who is not a member of a local cooperative. Here in Kikuube, we are going to be working with Kikuube Development Farmers Association so those farmers in small groups should join this association if they need to benefit from our support,” he said.

Makerere University in partnership with Kikuube district local government, with funding from Africa Plant Nutrition Institute is implementing a project dubbed Enhancement of Rice Productivity through adaptation of climate-smart Agricultural Options and Market Responsive Strategies in Uganda.

The three-year project which started in 2022, focuses on promoting the growing of upland rice [NAMCHE5] which is highly nutritious and resistant to climate change.

Under this project, 27 demonstration farms have been established, and farmers sensitised about modern farming. The demonstration farms were established to act as learning centres for farmers in the district to adapt to new technologies and also help the researchers to collect data.

Farmers, and rice traders in the area have appreciated Makerere University for bringing the project expected to transform the rural families in Kikuube district.

One of the farmers, Ronald Kasime of Ayebale Rice Millers and Traders said the project will help to improve on the quality of rice produced in the district.

He noted rice produced in Bunyoro is of poor quality compared to that produced in Tanzania, attributing the problem to poor post-harvest handling, and planting poor quality seeds.

Charles Ngambeki, Chairman of Kikuube Development Farmers Association commended Makerere University for the project, saying the rice project has empowered them.

According to him, before the introduction of the project, he would harvest 10 bags of rice from an acre but when he started practising modern ways of growing the crop, he is now able to harvest 20 -21 bags of from an acre of land.

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