Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Coffee farmers with stumped coffee trees in Rwenzori region will benefit from free organic fertilizers. Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA launched a campaign to stump out old coffee trees and rehabilitate abandoned coffee gardens across the country to help increase productivity.
According to perfectdailygrind.com, stumping is usually performed when trees are old, infested, when their production or growth has declined drastically, or to make more space. It means removing a large part of the trunk and its stems, although some can be left to stimulate growth. When stumping coffee trees, you must be careful to provide enough nutrients for the tree to recover.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries through UCDA has now delivered 17,033 bags of fertilizer to benefit farmers in the 10 districts of Rwenzori region including Kasese, Kamwenge, Bunyangabu, Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Ntoroko among others. Twenty-kilogram bags have been delivered to Kasese district central store. The organic fertilizer has macronutrients required for coffee plants especially when they are stumped.
Emmanuel Tumwizere, the regional UCDA coordinator, says that they are in a campaign to motivate farmers to boost their production and productivity. He mentioned that their research established that a stumped coffee plant produces three times as much yield as the farmer can get from an old tree.
Tumwizere told URN that coffee production in the region has been going down because many farmers are stuck with old trees left behind by generations. He says UCDA is strengthening its field teams to increase agronomic knowledge.
Julius Baluku, the Kasese District Production and Marketing Officer, says coffee production in the district remains low attributing it to old coffee trees. He notes that an old tree can produce half a kilogram and yet a rejuvenated tree can give more than three kilograms.
Baluku says he is confident that if farmers are given knowledge on stumping their old trees and given fertilizers to boast tree regeneration, production will be much high.
However, farmers are calling on UCDA to support them with pesticides and fungicides to control coffee pests and diseases most especially black coffee twig borer-BCTB, root mealy bugs, scales, coffee wilt disease (CWD), coffee red blister, and coffee leaf rust which continue to lower both quality and quantity of coffee produced in this sub-region.
Gilbert Rubaihayo, the LCV chairperson of Kyenjojo district, says free fertilizers will reduce the cost the farmers would incur in rejuvenating their stumped coffee trees and encourage other farmers to cut their old trees.
However, Rubaihayo who is also a re-known coffee farmer, blames UCDA for delaying the distribution of plantlets, which has discouraged many farmers. The State Minister for Agriculture, Retired Major Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, says the national annual coffee production is set to increase to nine million bags in 2021/22 up from eight million in the previous year.
He says that with the free fertilizer initiative, the production is set to increase further. A similar exercise has been launched in South West, Eastern, Northern, Elgon and greater Masaka.