Farmers Abandon Cocoa Over Neglect By Agriculture Department

2022 Views Bundibugyo, Uganda

In short
Statistics from the district production department indicate that more than 300 farmers have abandoned cocoa growing.

Cocoa farmers in Bundibugyo District have abandoned cocoa growing due to neglect from the district agriculture department.
Statistics from the district production department indicate that more than 300 farmers have abandoned cocoa farming and sold off their entire gardens.  
Bundibugyo district is known for growing cocoa and maize. The farmers say they are struggling on their own without any help from the department. They fault the department for denying them extension services, which they believe would help them improve productivity.  
Charles Kyaligonza, a cocoa farmer in Buhingi village, in Ntandi Sub-County, says that farmers lack knowledge on controlling pests, diseases and marketing their harvest.

Kyaligonza says that he planted over 10 acres of cocoa, without any help from the district agricultural office and were all affected by pests and diseases which affected his productivity.
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Joy Birungi, another cocoa farmer says she was forced to abandon it because she lacked information on best planting methods, proper harvesting methods and market access.  
Birungi now wants the district agriculture office to consider giving extension services to cocoa farmers.
Vincent Mugabi, the chairperson Bundibugyo district farmers association says farmers who have abandoned cocoa growing have been deprived of huge profits that they would have reaped, if they had adequate knowledge about the crop.
According to Mugabi, one of his biggest challenges is lack of storage facilities and knowledge of handling the crop after harvest.
 He says the agriculture department is to blame for the losses incurred by farmers resulting from poor storage because they have never received any training.

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Moses Irumba, the Bundibugyo district agricultural officer admits that they have not been giving cocoa any attention because of the limited number of extension workers.  He explains that plans to recruit more extension workers were halted due to lack of funds.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.