Thefts Threaten Cocoa Farming In Bundibugyo

3859 Views Bundibugyo, Uganda

In short
George Muhenda, a farmer in Itoojo village, Busaru Sub County, says he lacks funds to hire private guards to protect his cocoa garden from thieves. He explains that last year, thieves stole more than 500 ripe cocoa pods from his plantation.

 
Cocoa theft in Bundibugyo district is threatening to kick farmers out of business. 85 per cent of the farmers in Bundibugyo district are engaged cocoa, making a major cocoa producing area.
 
Records from Bundibugyo Police Station show that more than 20 cases of cocoa thefts are reported each day during the harvesting seasons of July, November and December. The thefts are common in Ntandi, Bubugwanga, Busaru and Kasitu sub counties. 

Robert Muhindo, a cocoa farmer in Ntandi village in Ntandi Sub County, says thieves have taken advantage of increased demand to steal the crop.

Muhindo blames district authorities for doing nothing to protect the farmers. 

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George Muhenda, a farmer in Itoojo village, Busaru Sub County, says he lacks funds to hire private guards to protect his cocoa garden from thieves. He explains that last year, thieves stole more than 500 ripe cocoa pods from his plantation. 

Fred Musinguzi, the chairperson Bundibuguyo Cocoa Farmers Association, says farmers under the association have lost more than 100 Million Shillings in the past one year.

He explains that some farmers have threatened to abandon cocoa growing because they are making losses. Musinguzi says farmers have been forced to harvest immature cocoa to counter the thieves.
 
He adds that farmers have been advised to form groups to monitor their plantations at night to ensure thieves do not steal their produce.

Cocoa growing in Bundibugyo has faced numerous challenges. In 2015, the district council moved to limit cocoa growing to curb food insecurity in homes. This was after a study by the district production department indicated that farmers were using all their land for cocoa production at the expense of growing nutritious foods.

Other challenges include lack of storage facilities, inadequate knowledge of handling the crop after harvest and controlling pests and diseases.

According to the National Coffee Research Institute- NaCORI, that is pushing for planting of hybrid cocoa varieties, Bundibugyo district accounts for a 60% share of all the cocoa grown in Uganda.
 

 

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.