The farmers usually harvest the highly prized crop between June and July. A Kilogram of fresh vanilla fibre costs more than Shillings 200,000 on the market. Middlemen buy a kilogram at around 160,000 Shillings while established companies can buy it at as much as 200,000 Shillings per kilogram.
The ongoing curfew has been a blessing to
vanilla farmers in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts, saying it has shielded them
from thieves who usually terrorize them prior to the harvesting period.
The farmers usually harvest the highly prized crop between June
and July. A Kilogram of fresh vanilla fibre costs more than Shillings 200,000
on the market. Middlemen buy a kilogram at
around Shillings 160,000 while established companies can buy it at as much as
Shillings 200,000 per kilogram.
However, the farmers are often on tension during the harvesting
period of thieves who raid their gardens. A
number of farmers have lost their lives while guarding their gardens. However,
Simon Tsongo, a vanilla farmer and Chairperson
Kasenero Organic Farmers Cooperative Limited, says they have had some breath of
fresh air because of the curfew.
He says cases of vanilla theft have drastically reduced this
season since most people are forced to be home at night. Thieves
would use motorcycles to carry their loot from the gardens to taxi and bus
stages, according to Tsongo. He wants the curfew maintained until after
July to help farmers have a fruitful harvest.
//Cue in; “There no more…
Cue out… disturbing us most.”//
Loyce Masika has been growing vanilla for the past four
years. According to Masika, she expects to earn fully from her plantation. Unlike
other seasons when Masika would spend sleepless nights with her children
patrolling her garden, she has been able to sleep without fear of thieves
raiding her garden.
//Cue in “Kya luhanda lyabibi…
Cue out:…bakehere butuku bunu.”//
Malik Atugonza, another farmer from Kyalhumba Town Council in
Kyalhumba Sub County wants the government to consider their request to establish curfews
during the harvesting period to safeguard farmers from thieves.
leaders can actually use this period to assess the importance of a curfew to
vanilla farmers who have always been attacked by thief at night while guarding
their gardens,” Atugonza says
Jimmy Bagonza Polisi, the CEO Rwenzori Cooperative Union
predicts a slight increase in the volume of vanilla production this season
because of reduced theft. He says the drop in theft has given farmers the hope of
keeping their produce in the gardens until it’s ready for harvesting.
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Cue out…the right time.”//
Juvenal Muke, the Kyondo Sub-county Chairperson says they
have registered fewer cases of vanilla theft during this lockdown. In
Bundinbugyo farmers continue to use the Bundibugyo Vanilla Wimberley team to
protect their gardens.
The Bundibugyo District Production Officer,
Light Kisembo says the curfew has given farmers hope for better
production. The government set the dates for harvest, selling and
buying of vanilla as June 15 to July for this season and December 15 for the