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Kasese Apple Farmers Decry Lack Of Markets

An apple farmer during an interview with URN in Kyarumba Sub County

Audio 5

Apple farmers in Kasese District have decried the lack of market for their harvest. The farmers also say that most of the apple-growing areas have poor transport network, which affects their access to the market. 

Although the farmers have embraced the awareness campaign by Operation Wealth Creation-OWC –on growing fruits such as apples for commercial purposes, the farmers say they are being frustrated by numerous gaps. 

John Kimadi, the chairperson Kasese Apple Growers Association-KAGA, says that the lack of market for their harvest has continued frustrating their efforts to fight poverty in their households.

Kimadi decries the poor road infrastructure in the mountainous areas where apples are grown.

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Kimadi asks the government to support the association with motorcycles to help them link farmers to markets and extension services.

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Paul Mbwambale, a farmer from Kyarumba Sub County, says that the low price of their harvest due to the absence of local market has discouraged most farmers from investing more money into apple growing. 

He says that they are selling each fruit between Shillings 300 and 500 shilling to a few supermarkets in Kasese town. Bwambale says the seasonal returns are very low compared to the cost of production.

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Mary Kabughoa, a farmer from Kisinga Sub County says that they have started selling their harvest at a give-away price to middlemen due to low demand.

She says that she is failing to buy manure to better her farm due to the absence of resources. 
“The biggest challenge currently is the lack of a wider market, locals in our areas here want the apples for free while clients from town are giving us very low prices,” Kabugho says.

Simon Kabali, another farmer calls upon the government to establish a fruit factory in the area as part of the strategy to absorb their harvest.  But Julius Rukara, the Kasese District Agriculture Officer blames farmers for working in isolation.

Rukara thinks that if farmers are organized in groups, they can easily find a suitable market even beyond Kasese District.

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Denis Iga, the Rwibitaba Zonal Agricultural Development Officer Rwenzori region, says through AGRILED government is constructing an industrial park that will among others host a fruit factory.

He says this will be an opportunity for the farmers to have both the market and better prices for their harvest. 

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