The Rwenzori Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo, has told farmers in Bundibugyo to cut down some of the cocoa trees to create more space for food production or else people are likely to be affected by hunger
By Andrew Masinde
BUNDIBUGYO - The Rwenzori Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo, has told farmers in Bundibugyo to cut down some of the cocoa trees to create more space for food production or else people are likely to be affected by hunger.
He was speaking during the passing out of 71 religious leaders from various Christian denominations on Thursday in Ntandi trading centre Bundibugyo district.
The religious leaders were trained on how they can better teach the congregation on togetherness and also how to start up income generating activities.
The training was facilitated by World Vision Uganda, Bundibugyo branch in partnership with the Bundibugyo churches.
Rwenzori Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo greeting Lt. Col. (Rtd) Martin Kamya, the King of Bwamba, as national director World Vision Uganda, Gilbert Kamanga, looks on. Photo by Andrew Masinde
Kisembo said people have turned away from planting food to cocoa which is likely to cause hunger and malnutrition in the near future.
"It is true we need money but you cannot enjoy money on an empty stomach. It is surprising that people have planted cocoa even up to their doors. They don't even have space to pass while entering their houses. Soon cocoa will be planted in the houses. This is worrying," he stressed.
Bundibugyo district is a major cocoa producing area with 85% of the farmers engaged in cocoa growing.
Lt. Col. (Rtd) Martin Kamya, the King of Bwamba said farmers in the district prefer growing cocoa to food crops which is dangerous to his kingdom.
Rwenzori Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Reuben Kisembo poses for a group photo woth graduands. Photo by Andrew Masinde
"The district has the potential to grow variety of food crops but almost all the land is dedicated to growing cocoa as a cash crop, in the end people are forced to buy food from the neighbouring districts, which is quite shaming," he explained.
He added: "If people in villages buy food, then what should people in Kampala who have no gardens do? It is dangerous. I'm hoping that the training the religious leaders have undergone will help them influence the congregations to also focus on food production," he added.
Faith Nakawesa, a resident of Bubukwanga village says she abandoned food production just because cocoa fetches her good money that helps her pay school fees for her five children.
"Food has less market yet cocoa has more; I am assured of more money unlike food that is cheap. I can use the money from cocoa sales to buy food and also to pay for my children's fees," she explained.
The national director World Vision Uganda, Gilbert Kamanga, asked the graduands to put what they have studied into action.
"Be the light for the rest; don't keep what you have studied to your selves. Teach the congregation about love, togetherness and hard work. Teach people on farming and how to start up income generating activities. But first you should also practice them," he explains.
Farmers to cut cocoa for food crops