Farmers in Kikuube district recently asked the Government to intervene and address the issue of increasing fake agricultural inputs on the market.
Steven Kabagambe, a livestock farmer who also grows crops on 60 acres in Kyarushesha, Kyangwali sub-county, said there are many fake fertilisers, seeds, pesticides and herbicides on the market.
The farmers made the appeal during the awards ceremony for the best farmers and co-operative societies in the district.
This was organised by Kikuube district local government in partnership with Action Against Hunger and World Food Programme.
Kabagambe said the counterfeit inputs on the market are causing losses to many farmers and failing them to achieve their dreams as they engage in agriculture as a business.
Stella Birungi, a banana farmer from Kiziranfumbi, said banana wilt is one of the challenges affecting them in the district and they have no remedy to the disease.
Birungi, who is also a livestock farmer, expressed concern over the increasing fake animal drugs, coupled with high prices.
A total of 25 farmers from different subcounties and five co-operative societies were awarded different farm items.
The eight best farmers were given 2,000-litre water tanks each, while others were given spray pumps with protective gear and wheelbarrows.
The rewarding of farmers followed an assessment and ranking that was conducted by the National Agricultural Research Organisation on the request of the district production department.
The co-operative societies that were assessed and ranked include Nyangwali Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society, Wambabya Community Development Association LTD, Kyangwali Farmers’ Organisation, Kakooge Bhimba Livestock Investors Group and Banyankole Tweyambe Association.
Kyangwali Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society was ranked the best with 92% score, while Banyankole Tweyambe Association was ranked as the worst performing with 38% score.
The groups were ranked on aspects of leadership and management, operation, financial management, administration, production management and marketing, among others.
Individual farmers were ranked on aspects of environmental conservation, food and feeds safety, food and feeds security, networking and linkages, home care and hygiene, crop husbandry, productivity, animal husbandry and enterprise mix, among others.
Barnabus Ntume, the Kikuube district production officer, said the awards were aimed at motivating farmers and assessing their performance in the district.
He also said the production department was facing a challenge of understaffing. “The department, which is supposed to have 46 workers, only has 10 staff and this affects the provision of extension services,” he said.
Steven Magume, the commissioner and principal of agricultural extension management at the agriculture ministry, commended the district for the initiative, adding that this will help to promote farming and help the people to move out of poverty.
Peter Banura, the Kikuube district chairperson, commended the initiative, saying there is a need to mobilise the people in the area to engage in agriculture instead of putting their focus only on the oil industry.