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Luzira Residents Using Floating Weeds for Manure, Mulch

The Director-General of the National Agricultural Research Organisation - NARO, Dr Ambrose Agona says that while they are trying to look at the possible advantages of the suds to agriculture, they are aware that if they are left to ferment, they can make good manure.
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Residents in areas surrounding Lake Victoria in Luzira, are finding a use for weeds from the floating islands that are being uprooted from the water.

This week, the government led by the Ministry of Agriculture started clearing the drifting vegetation which is composed of masses of peat, mud, and plants. Upon drawing them out of the lake, they are dumped on the mainland just adjacent to Nile Breweries.

However, farmers in the area are asking the truck drivers to dump the weed near their garden, where they are being used for mulching. They believe that the vegetation, once applied in the farms, could be useful in conserving soil moisture and improving fertility. 

Benson Kyamatimba, a tomato and banana farmer in Luzira says that he used the weed during the Uganda-Egypt Aquatic Weed Control Project and found them to be very fertile and ideal for use as manure, in addition to applying the grass as mulches. 

//Cue in; “Ebintu okubifunamu… 

Cue out…bebabiyiwamu.”//   

Kyamatimba explains that one needs to first sort the weed and ensure that the grass is put aside and the soil particles that come alongside them are also used separately. They also need to be conserved for at least two months, before they are applied to gardens and farms. 

//Cue in; “Kasika omala okubiyiwa… 

Cue out…kyona kyotekamu.”// 

Meanwhile, David Kureba, the coordinator of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists-NAPE dismisses fears that the application of such suds may be detrimental to crops on the mainland.  He noted that the extracted spices might not have any effect on the life on the mainland given the fact that the areas where they being put are within the ecosystem known as the tropics. 

//Cue in; “when you have… 

Cue out…of their usage.”// 

Several people within the area have also turned to the weeds to hunt for fish both for eating and selling upon realizing that when the weeds are uprooted from the lake, they come out with a number of other aquatic life including different species of fish which can be visibly seen in areas where the weeds have been dumped.

Alex Kamya, a fisherman from within the area, notes that the exercise came as a blessing for those whose livelihood was disrupted by the lockdown and the invasion of floating islands at the same time. 

//Cue in; “Tunyoonamu nva… 

Cue out…byekityo byekityo.”// 

The Director-General of the National Agricultural Research Organisation - NARO, Dr Ambrose Agona says that while they are trying to look at the possible advantages of the suds to agriculture, they are aware that if they are left to ferment, they can make good manure. 

Dr Agona, however, adds that NARO is considering collecting samples so that they carry out research to find out, among other things, the content and level of nutrients that can be available and advise farmers accordingly. 

//Cue in; "After maybe... 

Cue out...test and confirmation."// 

The Ministry of Agriculture has prioritized extraction of the said suds at port bell and Jinja as they believe that these still pose a threat of reinfection to the hydro-electric dam at Nalubaale. Aerial surveillance reports have shown that they are about 100 hectares of floating weeds in Murchison bay, Port Bell with more than ten hectares in Jinja District with many others cited in Bunjako, Sango Bay, Fielding and Thruston Bays.

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