By George Bita
Farmers in Iganga district have expressed concern over seemingly inferior farm inputs purchased from local dealers.
Awali Gulere, a commercial farmer at Kidago B village in Nabitende sub-county narrated that he spent about sh2m on weed killers at his 20-acre farmland this season without any tangible results.
“I was first given a type called Moto but it didn’t serve well. When I went back to the outlet in Iganga municipality, I was told Moto is a weaker option so I should try Weed-Master,” Gulere explained.
He told New Vision on Tuesday that the packaging could have been tampered with since the recommended chemicals never helped him effectively control weeds.
He is not alone as another farmer, Gregory Babalanda from Nawandala subcounty equally complained about the nature of spray pumps on market.
“I purchased a knapsacker pump to spray acaricides on my cattle but it started leaking within days. The nozzles seemed to be giving way despite having been assembled by experienced hands at the outlet,” Babalanda said.
He argued that even the quality of plastic material appears wanting in terms of thickness when compared to older pumps.
“When the tank is filled up with chemicals, it bulges outwards as if about to burst. This puts the life of the farmer as well as farm workers at risk since some of these chemicals are not supposed to get into contact with the skin,” he said.
Charles Kiwanuka, a farmer at Busei village in Iganga municipality attributed the status quo to mushrooming farm shops in the urban centre with many run by nonprofessionals.
“I usually go to outlets operated by veterinary doctors or such qualified persons. Other outlets are simply run by business-oriented persons taking little interest in quality,” Kiwanuka claimed.
He noted that at some outlets, the proprietors purportedly go to villages, buy local maize seeds and paint them with green or purple colour to resale as genuine farm inputs to farmers.
Adam Kafuko, a farmer from Namungalwe town observed that some vaccines like Gumboro and Newcastle which are required for poultry are apparently adulterated to maximise profits.
“The quality we used to get during yesteryears is no more. In fact that is why some serious poultry farmers have pulled out of the business as it has led many to making losses,” Kafuko claimed.
Gozan Ogaza, the Iganga district agriculture officer, urged farmers to always seek advice from technical persons when it comes to purchase of farm inputs.
“We have extension workers who are ever in the field to help these farmers. Unfortunately, some do not bother to interface with our teams and opt to work independently,” Ogaza asserted. He noted that the district agriculture office has a list of recommended outlets with the right farm inputs for local farmers saying every farmer should interest him/herself in buying from the best.