An outbreak of the fall armyworm caterpillar in several southern African nations has raised an alarm, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warning they pose “a huge threat to food security”. Uganda was the most recent country where the pest was found. Uganda’s Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja said the presence of the innocuous looking but hugely destructive brown caterpillar had been confirmed in over 20 districts of the country.
The National Agriculture Research Laboratories (NARL) Kawanda have announced plans to make use of farmer groups and platforms across the country to promote bacterial wilt resistant bananas that have been enhanced with Vitamin A. The varieties include Nakitembe and Kiwangaazi. This was revealed by Dr.Wilberforce Tushmereire, director of the NARL Kawanda on Friday, while meeting the state minister for cooperatives, Fredrick Gume Ngobi.
An agro-insurance subsidy of Ush5 billion ($1.9 million) announced by the Uganda government in June last year will finally take off, but a season later than had been initially promised. There are fears that the subsidy will not be effected before the end of the season due to delays in releasing the money and insurers who are cautious after projections of a poor harvest due to extreme weather.
Despite being labelled the backbone of Uganda’s economy, the agriculture sector has been susceptible to many challenges and risks related to both artificial and natural disasters. The risks, which vary from unstable produce prices to droughts, floods, pests and diseases, have not only hampered the growth of the agriculture sector, but also discouraged many people from venturing into it as a business, writes Faridah Kulabako
We are increasingly finding ourselves facing converging food and climate challenges at an alarming rate, and globally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that food insecurity will rise by 15-40 per cent by the year 2050. Agriculture is immensely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Hence, it is important that smallholder farmers are enabled to build farming practices that make them more resilient to such changes.
Cassava brown streak disease has hit several sub-counties in Kasese district destroying many acres of the crop. Some of the affected are farmers groups in Mubuku irrigation scheme, Karusandara, Muhokya, Mahango, Maliba, Bugoye, and Kisinga sub- counties. The signs of Cassava streak disease are rotting tubers, which are unfit for human consumption, according to agricultural experts. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, cassava mosaic disease and cassava streak disease are the greatest constraints to the production of the crop.
More than 400 farmers from Mubende, Kyegegwa and Kibaale districts have been equipped with skills to enable them minimise the post-harvest losses. These are mainly attributed to the damp conditions during storage which aid mould growth and the associated risk of aflatoxin contamination. At a recent workshop held in Mubende Town, Kenneth Oweyesigyire from Aponye Uganda--a company that deals in agricultural produce, noted that most of the produce is of low quality.
A drone is operated using a remote control and flies using propellers. It can be fitted with a knapsack in case the operator is interested in spraying crops. Drone technology is trending in surveillance, but it can be used in agriculture, said a director in the Ministry of Agriculture. He added that drone technology is versatile. He cited spraying as one of the activities where drone technology could be used to cover more than two villages in a day. He added that this could help farmers in Teso sub-region where pests have been affecting oranges.
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