Rukungiri, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Bwambara sub county in Rukungiri district are concerned about the late supply of coffee seedlings, saying it is frustrating progress of coffee production.
The farmers explain that they often request for coffee seedlings through Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in time to catch up with the rainy season but they instead receive them between June-August and November when there is little or no rainfall at all.
As a result, the coffee seedlings dry due to sunshine. Adrine Tukwasiibwe, a farmer from Nyakabungo B village in Kikarara parish says she was supplied 1200 seedlings in October last year following her request in February.
She however, says that only 100 seedlings of the 1200 coffee seedlings survived because of sunshine. Tukwasiibwe also says all the 500 coffee seedlings they received in 2018 dried out because they arrived in the dry season.
She was addressing the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority- (PPDA) board members who were assessing the progress of coffee seedling sourcing and distribution in Rukungiri on Wednesday.
Tukwasiibwe said the seedlings dry because of late delivery and distribution, which has affected the farmer’s morale of caring for the surviving seedlings. She wondered why the seedlings are supplied out of session even when the relevant authorities know that Bwambara receives little rains.
Issa Kangume, another farmer says that out of 1500 seedlings he received, only 200 survived. He said that had it not been that the seedlings were supplied during the dry season, they would all have survived.
Ismail Musimenta, a resident of Nyakafunjo village, says many of them have lost interest in planting coffee because of the persistent losses. He says they are ready as farmers to plant more coffee provided the suppliers deliver the planting material in the rainy season because it is more profitable compared to tobacco.
Xavier Kyoma, a member of the PPDA Board, said they will discuss the issue of delayed supplied of the planting materials and explore solutions.
He also revealed that many other farmers have embraced coffee growing but hastened to add that more is needed to sensitise residents to change their mindset to start loving the cash crop.
Edgar Nabasa, Regional Coffee Extension Officer in charge of Rukungiri and Kanungu, said that they had managed to reduce the cases of late delivery of the coffee seedlings through the implementation of PPDA guidelines on sourcing and distribution materials.
He said the farmers complaining don’t make time to weed their coffee gardens, which affects the plants.