Kabale irish potato farmers decry low yields

Agriculture
Kabale irish potato farmers decry low yields
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Farmers in Kabale have decried low yields  of Irish potatoes.

Initially the Kigezi sub-region was the basket supplier of Irish potatoes across the country and the neighboring countries of Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania but   for the last four years, yields have  drastically reduced in the area leaving the farmers in fear.

Previously in  Kabal,e the market price of a sack of irish potatoes was  between Shs100,000 to shs150,000 but due to the low yields, a sack now goes for  between Shs.200,000 to shs250,000.

Farmers who include Judith Tusigweri and Agnes Tumurwanze say that the low yields  have been brought about  by the soils that seems to be exhausted.

The farmers explain that  some seedlings get rotten when they are still in the soil.

They add that the presidential directive on wetland vacation has also greatly contributed much to low yields  since most of the farmers were cultivating in the wetlands adding they used to get much harvests from the wetland .

"We used to do irish farming and we would get a lot of harvests. Every district across the country would be supplied with irish from Kabale but ever since we were told to vacate the wetlands, we have greatly been affected."

“Ever since the productivity of our irish potatoes grown in Kabale reduced, we have now opted to import irish potatoes from Kapchorwa and Kenya to our markets in Kabale so that our customers don’t lack."

Jean Tukamushaba another Irish potato farmer says that over the years farmers in the Kigezi sub-region have not been getting access to improved types of seedlings .

“Yes its true our productivity for irish potatoes in Kabale and Kigezi at large has reduced.I think it is because as farmers we lack access to quality seedlings to plant," Tukamushaba notes.

Joram Kubereba director of research at Kakwekano Sub-station of National Agricultural Research Organization ( NAARO) in Kabale highlights that according to research carried out in the past four to five years, the statistics show that hectarage amount of land allocated to Irish potato farming has drastically reduced .

He added that reasons leading to this are not very clear.

He further says that farmers currently in their small pieces land are able to produce 16 to 30 bags per hectare in a season adding that this is an indication that farmers are struggling.

 

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