Bushenyi District has registered a fall in production of cash and food crops in the last three years.
This has been attributed to diverse weather conditions according to Amon Natwebembera, the district agricultural officer.
The fall comes at a time when farmers as preparing to plant various food and cash crops such as tea, coffee and others, which grow well in the district.
He points out that the situation may get worse if effects of climate change are not mitigated through timely planting, soil moisture conservation, and use of fertilisers to boost growth.
Natwebembera told Daily Monitor that in their efforts to improve crop productivity, the ever-changing weather conditions were a serious challenge as they lower the survival rate.

“The rains are coming and we are going to supply seedlings but when farmers are done planting, it will be dry,” he said.

On the other hand, farmers are not ready. They take seedlings but lack capital (funds) to follow up the other steps required. They resort to using family labour, which takes long thereby causing delays.

Then there comes high demand for labour, which goes with high charges by labourers yet many farmers cannot afford even when few workers/laborers raise charges.

Other factors Fall in crop production has also been attributed to declining soil fertility caused by soil erosion and nutrient mining while harvesting by farmers.

“Soil erosion is not controlled due to poor methods of farming practised by smallholder farmers, lack of soil cover, overgrazing,” says the agricultural officer Land fragmentation is yet another factor.

Land owned by different families is being sub-divided among the family members. By doing this, little land is left for farming as they also build their houses on the same small pieces of land.

The average holding in Bushenyi District is 1.4 acres per household, which has grown smaller compared to previous estimates.

The declining crop production has affected the district economically and is also leading to food insecurity. Andrew Barekyereyo, a resident of Bumbaire Sub-county, says homes no longer have adequate food for the family members.

“People don’t have food in their houses because the soils are no longer fertile. Even those who were selling coffee to buy food, have no option now because even coffee doesn’t grow well. We don’t know what to do,” he said.

However, Natwebembera points out that the district production team is devising means of tackling the challenging phenomenon.

“We are trying to promote the growing of foods such as Irish potatoes, sweet cassava to stabilise food stability and nutrition. During the peak season, 90 per cent of the people are food-secure while in the off-season, 40 per cent are not food-secure.”

In preparation Banana production reduces in the April-May rainy season, and it in this period people are food-insecure— this is mostly at 60 per cent. This calls for food to be stored and preserved.

He says Operation Wealth Creation programme has helped the district tackle the challenge. Through it, 296 bags of seedlings of Victoria and Rwangurume Irish potato varieties have been distributed to farmers across the district. This is preparation for planting when the rainy season sets in.

“These varieties given to us can do well if proper agronomical practices are followed by farmers in their need to produce good yields,” says Natwebembera.

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