Dry spell hits Kikuube farmers hard

Agriculture -->
Dry spell hits Kikuube farmers hard
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Farming is one of the main activities practiced by people in Kikuube district, especially growing cassava, banana, rice, potatoes and maize among other crops, but this is soon changing.

The changing seasons have seen the area hardly get  stable rains, a thing  that  has left most of plants  while those that were at the flowering level, the flowers dropped.

Doreen Ayebazibwe, who   ventured into rice growing as a demo farmer notes that she would have almost given up if it wasn’t for the Wednesday rains.

"This time I tried out rice growing  but I  can tell you I'm regretting. We have not got rain, my rice started drying. In fact I gave  up on chasing birds from my rice gardens because I had no other hope," Ayebazibwe stated.

Paul Musinguzi, another farmer  notes that the changing rain patterns have made it hard for them to predict seasons.

'We get seeds so early, do the planting but as soon as we do planting, the rains disappear .While government recommends  us to do irrigation, most of us are on uplands where it becomes hard to fetch water that can irrigate the entire garden for an instance an acre. May  be government has to come and support us with such facilities."

Dr. Patrick Musinguzi from Makerere University, an expert in soil, advises farmers to always test soils before farming and also embrace the use of fertilizers.

He says most soils have lost nutrients to support real high yield production.

"Gone are the days when people would just plant and go back home wait for weeding time. Now people have to use fertilizers. The population has increased and the land has been used so much, so it loses nutrients to give you the value you want. Before planting, test the type of soil if it is suitable for the crop, but also make fertilizers, especially those dealing in rice part of you," Musinguzi advised.

Dr. Musinguzi encourages farmers to make use of  agricultural insurance, a cover for farmers in case of losses.

"Most crops are so risky.. As you plant, know  anything can happen. Like now, farmers are not sure of yields due to weather but  when you are in insurance, you will not feel the pinch, and government has come in so handy. Farmers  need to join agro insurance".

The Kikuube town council mayor, Ibrahim Mugenyi decried failure to work in groups, a tendency that continues to cost farmers.

This was during a field-based training on upland rice production, post-harvest management, marketing, insurance and credit support.

The rice demos have been established over years with support from African plant nutrition Institute, Kikuube district local government, Makerere University and significant impact is evident with an evolution of champion farmers who know how to do rice farming better in the region as government continues to push out farmers from wetlands that were known to be better places for rice production.

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