Inflation Forces Kasese Farmers to Raise Prices

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By Lominda Afedraru, 21 September 2011

Inflation is not only affecting at consumers but farmers as well. Farmers in Kasese district, growing various food items at Mubuku irrigation scheme and elsewhere, have been forced to increase prices of their produce by Shs200 from an already agreed price as a result of a price influx in the country.

Mr Frank Twinamatsiko, the chairperson of Basajjakweyamba Cooperative Society - Mubuku Irrigation Scheme Ltd, said farmers are unhappy about the price increases.

Recently, at the Open Forum for Agricultural Biotechnology in Kasese, Mr Twinamatsiko said his management entered into an agreement to sell farmers' produce such as maize and rice to seed companies at Shs1,000 per kilogramme but now sold them at Shs1,200 and Shs1,300 per kilogramme respectively.

One of the biggest buyers of these products is Fica Seed Company, which according to Mr Twinamatsiko, purchases products worth Shs800m in one season.

The cooperative society conducts regular meetings with the farmers to determine the price of their produce. The the challenge is that the society does not enter into an agreement with seed companies to sell these products in cash.

Mr Twinamasiko said the cooperative society sold the last bunch of food items to Fica seed company during the last harvesting season worth Shs300m but Shs20m remains unpaid.

The society is not blaming the seed companies but the entire economic system. Much as the farmers are embracing hybrid seeds produced by researchers including the drought-tolerant maize that is being tested at Mubuku Irrigation Scheme, they have urged the government to give them subsidies on farm inputs.

Kasese district agricultural officer, Ms Thereza Munyazikwiye said much as Kasese is considered to be dry, it is good at producing perennial crops that depend of natural rain.

She said the district aims at increasing irrigation schemes that will enabled adequate crop production leading to reduced prices of food items.

Dr Joseph Kikafunda while presenting a paper on the status of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema), said such research initiatives are good because they can help solve the problem of the price influx in food items as well as that of pests and diseases that are affecting quality production of these crops.

He urged farmers to focus on improved storage facilities for their produce to avoid destruction of food items that may lead to lower sales instead of reaping enough income.

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