In the context of the available weather forecast, farming activities need to be emphasised along with the various value chains. -Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja
The ongoing rains mark the onset of the second season rains which is expected to be short (Aug to Nov 2020). Therefore planting of seasonal crops such as Cereals (Maize, Upland Rice, Sorghum, Millet), Pulses (beans, groundnuts, soya beans, peas), Cassava, Potatoes, Vegetables (tomatoes, cabbages, onions, eggplants, pepper, amaranth) should have started at the onset of rains in August.
While addressing the media in Kampala, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries advised farmers that did not plant at the onset of August rains to finalise land preparation, acquire the right inputs (seeds, fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides) and plant immediately fast maturing and drought-tolerant seasonal crop varieties from the nearby recommended stockists such as vegetables, maize (WEMA, Bazooka), beans (NARO bean 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, 12 C).
Those that enrolled in the Agricultural Cluster Development Project (ACDP) e-voucher purchase system should quickly pay for their contribution to facilitate access to their agricultural inputs so as to avoid late planting and crop loss.
For the farmers who planted early, they have been advised to start the weeding and controlling pests as well as diseases.
The minister emphasises that farmers who have not yet established plantations for Perennial crops such as bananas, coffee, cocoa, tea, cashew nuts, Orchards (citrus, mangoes, vanilla,) should do so immediately to avoid challenges.
Farmers who had already established the perennial plantations and orchards are advised to:
- Prune the plantations and orchards.
- Make appropriate soil and water conservation structures (runoff trenches, retention ditches), soil stabilisation bunds (Fanya jjuus, Fanya chinis), mulching, planting agroforestry trees for the required shade and legumes for soil fertility improvement.
- Control weeds using herbicides or through manual removal.
- Apply the appropriate fertilisers and manure.
- Identify and control pests and diseases.
Livestock farmers are advised to:
- Maintain the livestock watering points such as dams, valley tanks through desilting and clearing water inlets.
- Livestock farmers are advised to improve and maintain the quality of the pastures by planting legumes and grasses, weeding, manuring and pruning.
- Make hay and silage for storage in preparation for the dry season.
- Control vectors and treat/ vaccinate animals against diseases.
- Seek professional advice from the nearest Veterinary Extension Officers on all matters related to livestock management.
The Fish farmers are advised to:
- Seek technical guidance on pond site selection from the Fisheries Extension Officer.
- Maintain the fish infrastructure (ponds, cages), ensure adequate water quality for the fish ponds.
- Farmers with mature fish in ponds should harvest to benefit from the current good fish prices. Farmers are further advised to always consult the Fisheries Extension Officers.
- For capture fisheries, fishermen should take note of the prevailing weather conditions on the lakes and take maximum safety precautions.
The minister has also warned farmers and the general public to plant early maturing crop varieties that are also drought tolerant and to use the available food stocks sparingly as well as avoiding wasting the forecasted short rains.
I emphasize and advise farmers to eat a balanced diet while observing the ministry of Health standard operating procedures against COVID-19 and to take maximum precautions while attending to farming. The COVID-19 Pandemic is not in the gardens but most likely from the congregations, Hon. Ssempijja said.
The Minister also urges the farmers to work as a team to produce safer, marketable food and fiber, for a healthy and prosperous nation.