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Busia’s pilot coffee project fails

By Egessa Hajusu

Added 30th August 2016 04:30 PM

Every beneficiary and coffee garden in the district was visited and it was discovered that only 43% of the coffee seedlings planted had survived while 57% failed.

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State minister for Agriculture Vincent Ssempija (center) touring mzee Wanyama Wakona's coffee plantation in Kubo village Masafu sub county, Busia. Photo/Eggesa Hajusa

Every beneficiary and coffee garden in the district was visited and it was discovered that only 43% of the coffee seedlings planted had survived while 57% failed.

A pilot project aimed at promoting coffee growing in Busia district to empower residents fight poverty has miserably failed.

According to Lt. Col. Lukas Oguttu, the district operation wealth creation officer, the district has in the last three years received a total of 219,000 seedlings under the pilot project which has benefited 1072 farmers.

Oguttu said the district recently carried out an exercise to ascertain the failure and survival rate of coffee planted between 2014 to date for proper a remedy.

He said the exercise conducted by sub county chiefs and Gombolola internal security officers (GISO) also sought to establish what had contributed to the failures and survival in order to improve coffee management in the future.

During the operation, Oguttu said every beneficiary and coffee garden in the district was visited and it was discovered that only 43% of the coffee seedlings planted had survived while 57% failed.

“Some sub counties in Busia district have good soils for coffee growing while others do not,” Oguttu said adding that Museveni wants to make Busia another Bugisu, Buganda and Busoga where residents perennially have a source of income.

President Yoweri Museveni has identified coffee as a priority perennial cash crop and directed that very house hold should at least have one acre of coffee serve as an income generating source to enable Ugandans fight poverty.

Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempija in a follow up to Museveni’s directive to promote coffee growing visited  Busia  twice in May and interacted with  farmers and pledged government's support ranging from seedling, pesticides and water pumps for irrigation.

Ssempija also arranged a study tour for farmers to his home district in Kalungu to go and learn from their colleagues.

He said during the verification process, a number of reasons including lack of support for the programme by Sub County chiefs, drought, ignorance of farmers and lack of farmer’s sensitization were identified as key factors of coffee pilot project failure.

Oguttu told the New Vision that most farmers who benefited left the seedlings to dry up without planting them while others poorly spaced and planted two seedlings in one hole.

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