Kapelebyong Resident District Commissioner, Kyeyune Ssenyonjo
has stopped the supply of citrus seedlings to the district. His
directive stems from the poor performance of citrus in the district.
Kyeyune, who was in an emergency meeting with the production department,
was shocked after hearing that there is no single success story of citrus
farming in Kapelebyong. “We cannot continue spending resources on
enterprises that don’t benefit our communities. This must stop immediately”, he
said in the meeting.
Last week, Emudo Jerry Co. Ltd supplied over 20,000 citrus
seedlings to the district through Operation Wealth Creation. Each sub county
was expected to receive 5,000 trees seedlings for planting this season. However,
the District Information Officer, Emmanuel Opio, says the district local
government did not request the citrus seedlings since the area is in a cattle
“Instead, the majority of the farmers requested the
government to supply other Agricultural inputs such as cattle, groundnuts and
cassava stems among others”, he said. Francis Akorikin, the Kapelebyong
District Chairperson- elect welcomes the decision by the RDC.
He notes that OWC has been pushing inputs to the community
without any consultation, adding that in most cases, inputs are supplied before
preparing farmers on how to manage them.
//cue in “I have been…
Cue out…another day,”//
During the budget conference last year, Richard
Alioka, a farmer in Acowa Sub County revealed that citrus farming had become
very expensive to manage amidst challenges of low demand.
Alioka, who started orange farming in 2012 with five acres,
noted that the management of orange trees was costlier than the output. He
revealed that he was spending more than two million Shillings on the
maintenance of orange trees yet the output was very small.
William Ejiet, the Kapelebyong District Production
and Marketing Officer acknowledges the challenges in citrus farming, adding
that they are now promoting the production of cassava, fish farming, apiculture,
livestock and groundnuts growing with value addition.
Citrus production challenges emerged after the
establishment of Soroti Fruit Factory. Although the factory has also had
challenges in managing huge volumes of oranges in Teso, there are plans to
expand its capacity.