Farmers Struggle to Adapt to Drought Resistant Crops

2273 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Salvatore Abigaba, the Kabarole District Agricultural Officer admits there is a limited number of extension workers who cant help all the farmers.

Farmers in Rwimi Sub County in Kabarole district are facing challenges adapting to drought resistant crops.

Rwimi Sub County, which is known for growing rice and maize, has been experiencing a dry spell for some time. All rice and maize fields dried up.

Following the effects of drought, farmers were forced to turn to drought tolerant varieties of rice, maize and cassava that were developed by the Natural Crops Resources Research Institute.  Some of the varieties include cassava NASE 1-4 and rice naric 1 and Longe 9H for maize. 

However, adapting to drought resistant crop has come with challenges especially pests and diseases.  Viola Kemigisa, a farmer says that when she started growing drought resistant cassava, she expected to increase production.

//Cue in: "we have a problem…

Cue out: "…cassava mosaic."//

Francis Asiimwe, another cassava farmer says that he has been battling pests and diseases for five months, which has affected his productivity. He explains that he doesn't understand the pests that attack his cassava plantation despite applying several pesticides to control them.

He adds that farmers need knowledge on controlling pests and diseases, but are struggling on their own without any help from the district agriculture department.  David Aliganyira, the Chairperson Rwimi Farmers Association says that more than 200 farmers have had their crops affected by pests. 

Aliganyira adds that there is need for a quick response to address pests and diseases from relevant authorities or else they will lose interest in agriculture.  According to Aliganyira, if the extension workers can't help, then the government should introduce small scale irrigation. 

//Cue in: "drought is heavy…
Cue out: "…can be sustainable."//

Salvatore Abigaba, the Kabarole District Agricultural Officer admits there is a limited number of extension workers who can't help all the farmers. He however says that farmers have been encouraged to come up with methods like irrigation to help them overcome declining crop yields as a result of drought.

According to the World Food Programme-  WFP, although drought-tolerant crops help stabilize yields and assure small-scale farmers of harvests especially during periods of moderate drought, some varieties are susceptible to diseases and pests.


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.