By Samuel Amanyire
Cassava is the staple food of most people in Kasese. Unfortunately it’s yield in the district has drastically reduced over the years causing food insecurity .
This was revealed by former minister of defense and veteran affairs Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga while addressing journalists last week at NRM offices located in Nyamwamba division Kasese municipality.
Kiyonga said that the crisis is evidenced by the continuous import of cassava into Kasese district from other districts.
“Kasese like the rest of Uganda is food insecure. Where is the evidence? You see that nowadays cassava flour comes from Mubende, Busia, Tororo and this is very risk.” Kiyonga said.
I do pass by Mubende and Tororo and the way they handle cassava is not good. I think we are eating allot of aflatoxins,” he added
Kiyonga further explained that the shortage of cassava in Kasese has brought about poor feeding hence a raise in stunted growth of most children from 40% to 50% not only in Kasese but the entire Rwenzori region.
“In the case of Rwenzori (Kasese, Bunyangabu, Kabarole Ntoroko and Bundibudgyo) the stunting raises from 40% to 50%” he explained.
Speaking to a number of Cassava dealers in Kasese municipality especially Zainab Kabugho, she confirmed that of late she imports cassava from Tanzania, processes it and supply different parts of the district.
“Nowadays I import cassava from Tanzania, process it into cassava flour the supply to Bwera, Maliba Ibanda, Kitswamba and other areas in the mountains because they no longer have cassava.” She said.
Lucky Tukamusherura a farmer in Mubuku Irrigation Scheme attributed cassava crisis in Kasese districts to a number of factors but mainly shortage of land, pests, diseases and climate change.
“But some of the major factors are; land which has gone scares these days in that a person with little land wound prefer to plant a crop that yields for a short time rather than cassava that takes over 6 months but also climate change, pests and diseases are blamed for the shortage of cassava in Kasese district.” Lucky explained.
However Kiyonga said that he is so optimistic that by next year, cassava cuttings will be everywhere in the entire districts basing on all programs they have laid down to fight the vice.
Recently, South Rwenzori diocese waged a serious campaign on the fight against cassava shortage in Kasese district by supplying cassava cuttings to different parishes.