New season: Gulu farmers urged on planning their ventures

GULU– Farmers in Gulu district have been urged to plan before embarking on large scale commercial farming to avoid wastage of resources in the new planting season.

This comes as farmers start opening farmlands for the following the onset of rains.

Raymond Odokonyero Obina, an extension worker at Gulu District Local Government said that farmers tend to waste resources by copying other farmers who might have planned their ventures well.

He said resource wastage sometimes happens when there is a bumper harvest in a particular crop, which forces the price to come down due to overproduction.

He stressed the importance of planning: “You did not plan, you just heard that so and so planted 10 acres of soybeans and made a lot of money so you jump in and also open 10 acres. When second ploughing comes, you plough 5 acres because you don’t have money to plough all the 10 and when it comes to planting, you buy seeds enough for only two or three acres because you did not consider the cost of seeds,” he said.

Obina added that farmers also make losses during weeding since they don’t consider the size of the family while planning the farming venture. “The person you were copying might have had a big family which offers free labour while your own family is small,” he said.

“Sometimes your own family members may also sabotage your efforts because you did not involve them in planning,” he added.

Obina said that it is for this reason that Gulu district in partnership after partnering with Northern Uganda Farmers Livelihood Improvement Project [NUFLIP] has embarked on training farmer groups on the importance of planning for their farming ventures. NUFLIP is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA].

“We train groups and also use radio programs to create awareness about the importance of planning so that farmers do not continue wasting the little resources they have,” Obina said.

John Onguti, the chairperson of New Owalo Farmers’ Group in Owalo Sub-county which has 30 members admits that members sometimes fail to plan.

“Sometimes members open large pieces of land expecting that they will get money at some point but most of them fail to get money for seeds and for weeding. They end up utilising a small portion of the opened land,” Onguti said.

Onguti said they are currently encouraging members of New Owalo Farmers’ Group to plan with what they have to avoid wastage of resources.

The group grows sunflower, soybeans and maize among others.

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