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Masindi, Kiryandongo maize farmers trained on proper use of fertilisers 

The farmers were also trained in soil maintenance, and climate-smart agriculture.

KIRYANDONGO, July 9, 2024 Over 200 farmers in Masindi and Kiryandongo districts have been trained on the proper use of fertilisers to boost maize production.

Asili Agriculture Company, based in Kiryandongo district in partnership with Yara Company Uganda, a distributor of fertilisers in the country, organised the training on Saturday after it emerged that many farmers do not understand the different types of fertilisers, and their proper application, hence affecting production.

The farmers were also trained in soil maintenance and climate-smart agriculture.

John Ssekamwa, an agronomist from Yara company Uganda said Ugandan farmers face several challenges such as counterfeits, high prices, and lack of adequate information, adding that the company tries its best to enlighten the farmers on the usage, type, and quality of the fertilisers.

“We are trying to help farmers to get the best out of their fields by organising such training. Government should also help these farmers get fertilisers at a subsidised cost as one way of boosting production of maize in the country,” added Ssekamwa.

Farmers speak out 

Maize farmers from the two districts expressed their concern over the high prices of the fertilisers, calling upon government to help the farmers buy inputs at subsidised prices.

Farmers who spoke to theCooperator explained that their soils are no longer giving high yields because of reduced soil nutrients.

“Without fertilisers, you can’t get good yields but the price is too high. The price of the 50-kilogramme bag of fertilisers starts from Shs 100,000, which most of the farmers can’t afford,” said Sam Kaheeru Barongo, a farmer from Labongo Sub-county Masindi district.

Jane Kahunde, a farmer from Kiryandongo Sub-county in Kiryandongo district explained to theCooperator that farmers in the district find it hard to identify genuine fertiliers from the counterfeit ones.

“There are many kinds of fertilisers on market and understanding what will work for you as a farmer is hard. Adequate sensitisation needs to be done because there are many counterfeits on market. You buy it at a higher price but it doesn’t help you,” explained Kahunde.

Price fluctuations

The farmers also expressed their concern over the unstable maize prices in the country, noting that they invest a lot of money in production but earn little from the produce.

“The price of fertilisers, agro-inputs, and also improved seeds is high but the price of maize is letting us down. For instance, the price of maize last season was less than Shs 500 a kilo. Are we really working? We can produce but we are let down by the unstable prices,” explained Kahunde.

Storage

James Kila, also a farmer from cluster D in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Kiryandongo district underscored the need for government to support farmers with silos and other storage facilities.

“Another setback for maize farmers is the lack of proper storage facilities. Our prayer to the government and other partners is to support us with tarpaulins and other facilities. This will also help us manage the quality of maize produced and also be able to bulk as we wait for the prices to stabilise,” said Kila.

Invasion of striga weed

The farmers also complained of the Striga weed which they said retards the growth of maize.

According to scientists, Striga or witchweed are parasitic weeds that affect cereal crops in many parts of Africa reducing production by as low as 30 percent or as high as 100 percent.

Job Byaruhanga, the Agricultural Officer Masindi district told theCooperator that research is ongoing to get a strong herbicide against Striga.

https://thecooperator.news/kikuube-farmers-ask-govt-to-subsidise-prices-of-agricultural-inputs/

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