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Home Agribusiness Agro-Chemical Dealers ‘Lack Knowledge’

Agro-Chemical Dealers ‘Lack Knowledge’

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

Although Agro Chemicals such as herbicides for weed control, pesticides for pest control among others reduce losses on the farm, failure to apply them in the right amounts could be dangerous to the farmer, the environment and even the market.

The observation was made by Joseph Bemba, the deputy Country director Sasakawa Africa Association, most agro chemicals are misused due to limited Bemba Joseph Deputy Country Director for Sasakawa Africa Association.

“There has been limited training for agro dealers, because they too are not aware, they tend to mislead farmers. We plan to train both farmers and agro dealers, Stuckists on the safe use of agro chemicals,” Bemba said.

Apart from training on safe agro chemical use, he said that the farming communities will also be exposed to alternatives to agro chemicals, now that effects of climate change are being felt among the farmers.

“There are effects of agro chemicals, on the soil, harvested foods but also for markets. We have had reports of agricultural produce rejected by foreign markets due to the presence of chemical residues so shall also show farmers alternatives to chemical use,” Bemba added.

The observation was made on the sidelines of the annual stakeholders meeting on climate Smart Mitigation for Income, Food and Nutrition Security at Fairway Hotel on Tuesday.

According to a study by Swiss contact, interceptions of Uganda’s agriculture produce increased to more than 100 in 2022 due the presence of chemical residues and also live insects such as the moths.

In the same meeting, Stephen Tibeijula Byantwale, the Director Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, admitted that there is a challenge with agro chemical use, adding that these are greatly affecting trade.

But added that these are being addressed through the Ministry’s Agriculture Value Chain Development Strategy. The strategy seeks to increase farmer incomes through improvements in Production and Productivity, Infrastructure Development, Market Development and Trade Facilitation among others.

“As we work together, we need a lot of effort to ensure that when all these investments are put in place, the final product should access both national and export markets for the benefit of the 39% small holder farmers into subsistence agriculture,” Byatwale said.

He added the above efforts will be supplemented with advice to farmers from extension workers both in government and the private sector.

“When we talk about agronomy, proper chemical application, post-harvest handling, the message should come from extension so you can understand the minimum chemical residues, grain standards for regional and export markets, electronic certification for exported products for traceability so all these have been provided for in the strategy,” he added.

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