By Peter Abanabasazi
Vanilla and fish farmers in Kikuube district are calling for government financial support to enable them address challenges they are facing.
They made the appeal during an impromptu visit and supervision of farmers under their umbrella United Rural Development Association (URDA) by Operation Wealth Creation officials and the RDC Kikuube Amlan Tumusime.
URDA a youth association with 500 members is engaged in enterprises such as Vanilla growing, piggery, poultry, goat rearing, fish farming and tree planting among others.
According to Omuherza Wemigisa Asabu, the district coordinator Vanilla Uganda the farmers lack of water pumps to water the farms since they are costly.
He says vanilla plants needs over 60 percent of water hence during the sunny and dry seasons like the current weather pattern, the crops are affected so much which leads to low and poor yields.
He also expressed concern over the increased theft of vanilla veins and the fluctuating vanilla prices saying a kilogram of vanilla in 2018 would cost Sh100, 000 to Sh200, 000, but now is at Sh60,000.
John Mary Akugizibwe, the chairperson URDA says fish farmers also need to be supported with fish feeds, aquaculture equipment among others.
However, RDC Amlan Tumusiime commended the farmers for being united and engaging in production for the fight against poverty and promised to lobby for them a tractor so that they can stop using rudimentary tools for commercial production.
The OWC regional coordinator Joram Kagezi challenged the farmers to embrace the existing government programs such Parish Development Model and OWC if they are to benefit from government.