The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has delivered a batch of 33,000 bags of fertilizers of 50 kilograms each to districts in Greater Masaka to boost coffee production in the area.
The benefiting coffee farmers are in the districts of; Masaka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Bukomansimbi, Sembabule, Kyotera and Rakai which are famous for growing Robusta coffee.
The State Minister in charge of Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, while handing over the fertilizers on Thursday to leaders and Production Officers of the benefiting districts, indicated that the government is counting on the fertilizers to increase coffee production and eventually stimulate household incomes.
He said the campaign to distribute fertilizers which is going to be rolled out in all the coffee-growing regions of the country is intended to support farmers to stimulate the old coffee trees and rehabilitate the abandoned gardens such that they can contribute towards increasing the overall coffee production.
Figures at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority-UCDA indicate that Masaka sub region has a verified total of 2.5 million stumped coffee trees that are no longer producing the coffee.
Kyakulaga noted that the government is looking forward to having all the existing coffee plantations in the country yielding to their capacity, by directly supporting the farmers with fertilizers
Many farmers refuse to stump their coffee plantations even when they are producing below capacity. According to UCDA, the Greater Masaka Sub region has at least 266,280 households involved in coffee production.
However, the authority established that these have a total of 6.3 million old trees that need to be boosted.
As a remedy, Kyakulaga revealed that the Ministry has instructed UCDA field teams to liaise with the Agricultural extension workers to rigorously sensitize the farmers on proper agricultural management practices.
Apollo Kamugisha, the Director for Development Services at UCDA, indicates that the fertilizers distribution campaign has come to support the country’s target of realizing a total coffee export of 20 million bags by 2025, the current figure of 4.6 million bags.
Andrew Lukyamuzi, the Masaka district chairperson appreciated the initiative as a grand opportunity for the coffee farmers, especially at a time when the cost of fertilizers on the market has risen.
Lukyamuzi however challenged the government to address farmers’ apparent fears arising from the highly controversial coffee export deal with Italian investor Vinci Pinetti.
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