KASESE, UGANDA: Members of Nyakatonzi Growers’ Cooperative Union now have hope for better yields – and profits, following President Museveni’s promise to support irrigation schemes in Kasese district.
The President was on Saturday visiting Bukonzo West Constituency, where he toured various Agricultural development projects in the area, and addressed a rally in Bwera Town Council.
In the Past, Kasese has been the victim of either drought or very tumultuous rains, both of which have routinely ravaged crops, undermining commercial farming in the area.
As one of the largest farmers’ cooperatives in the district, Nyakatonzi Growers Cooperative Union procures seeds and pesticides for farmers, which they’re expected to pay back at harvest time.
In the recent past however, the cooperative has borne the brunt of these unpredictable weather patterns. In 2016, the cooperative registered arguably its worst returns, after its profits dropped from shs3.8b to shs.2b due to prolonged drought.
Most recently, the Union lost over Shs.511million after its membership registered signifanctly lower cotton yields than previously anticipated, thanks to drought.
Some of the farmers that theCooperator talked to, said they were forced to replant the cotton seeds after they failed to germinate.
Speaking to see issues at Karambi Primary School, the president said in order to support agriculture in the area, his government would intensify irrigation, and went ahead to commission an irrigation scheme in the area. “Government has rehabilitated the Mubuku Irrigation scheme, and we shall support smaller, community-driven schemes,” he said.
He urged the residents to implement the four-acre plan, which he explained as running several farming projects that combine animal/poultry rearing and crop/fruit farming, to optimize value from land and raise increase their household incomes.
“You must differentiate between development (roads, electricity et-el) and wealth (individual income). The government will bring you development, but you must work for your wealth,” he said.
On complaints of animals from parks invading and destroying locals’ gardens, Mr. Museveni reassured farmers that the government will soon erect an electric fence to stop the animals, especially in areas where the park borders human settlements.
Museveni, who said he was primarily in the district to “remind the residents about the NRM formula for improving household incomes,” assured the locals that government was going to revamp Kilembe Mines and encourage more investors to set up shop in Kasese, to provide employment and skills’ development for the locals.