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Soroti Residents Demand Priority For Pest Control :: Uganda Radionetwork

Soroti Residents Demand Priority For Pest Control

Helen Akurut, 40, a resident of Asuret Sub County says government seems reluctant on pest control yet its a key obstacle to agricultural production.
Farmers in Soroti district are calling for a policy shift in Operation Wealth Creation to enable the programme invest more in provision of pesticides to communities battling multiple outbreaks of crop pests.

The government initiative was purposely rolled out to facilitate growth of household income through agriculture. The program, which runs under the National Agricultural Advisory Services-has invested resources in distribution of planting and breeding inputs, post-harvest and bulking equipment, and processing equipment to farmers.

It has also facilitated community mobilization and agricultural production chains across the country. But farmers in Soroti argue that the failure to provide pesticides is thwarting efforts to encourage masses to engage in commercial agricultural production since most of the plantations are devastated by deadly pests.

During the first planting season of the year, multitudes of gardens were devastated by the fall army-worm, a group of deadly caterpillars that march across the landscape in large groups feasting on grassy plants such as maize, millet, sorghum, rice, Napia grass and sugarcane.

In Teso sub region, the worms devastated gardens in Bukedea, Kaberamaido, Kumi, Soroti and Serere districts, where gardens were wrecked resulting into minimal harvests.

Joseph Odepe, 53, a resident of Arapai Sub County questioned why government failed to provide farmers with pesticides to quell such dangerous infestations. Odepe, who lost at least three acres of maize to the worms, warns that farmers will suffer more if the provision of pesticides is not prioritized.

Helen Akurut, 40, a resident of Asuret Sub County says government seems reluctant on pest control yet it's a key obstacle to agricultural production.

Denis Okello, a resident of Katine trading centre argued that despite an episode of drought in the first season, farmers would have made reasonable crops harvests, if they had not been attacked by the fall army worms.

During the first season, government delivered only 70 liters of striker pesticide to Kaberamaido district. A liter of Strike pesticide costs between 38,000 and 40,000 Shillings on the open market yet a farmer is expected to mix 20 milliliters of Striker pesticide with a 20 liter jerrycan of water while spraying the crop.

Last week during the annual agricultural trade fair held in Jinja town, President Yoweri Museveni emphasized government commitment through Operation Wealth Creation to provide pesticides among others.

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