Farmers in Bukwo District have until recently been involved in small scale farming which limited adoption to modern methods of farming. The district mainly engages in growing maize, wheat and barley as their main cash crops.
By Nicholas Oneal
Farmers in Bukwo District have until recently been involved in small scale farming which limited adoption to modern methods of farming.
The district mainly engages in growing maize, wheat and barley as their main cash crops.
Due to a drop in the prices of heat and maize, most farmers in the region are now concentrating on barley farming which requires more acreage for better tonnage.
Due to increase in farming acreage, the famers have now adopted mechanized farming thus improving yields and reducing post-harvest losses.
Farmers say they have adopted barley because of the ready market and stable prices. Barley is used as a main ingredient in the manufacture of beer.
“People here were growing maize and wheat but the prices were so poor and unstable. In 1992 a beer making firm introduced barley growing to Sebei people. That firm did not stay long because Bukwo is a hard to reach area. However, three years ago, Nile Breweries Limited came on board and they have set up a barley nucleus farm here in Bukwo,” said Festus Juma Mukhwana, the Lc3 Chairperson of Bukwo District.
“NBL has promoted barley growing through providing free seeds, inputs and they have also introduced us to the use of machinery like combined harvesters.”
Last year, Sebei region under the Greater Sebei combined harvester scheme produced about 550 metric tons of barley which was significantly low according to NBL, the lead consumer of barley from this region.
This year, as of last week, 568 tonnes had been harvested from 584 tonnes with an estimated over 500 acres not harvested.
“We expect over 3,120 metric tonnes of barley from Bukwo District this year,” Augustine Labu, the Assistant Farm Manager of Bukwo Barley Nucleus Farm said.
Asked to explain the bumper harvest, Labu said: “NBL bought two tractors and we have hired about seven combined harvesters from Kenya. This means we have limited post-harvest losses.”
A kilogram of barley currently goes for sh1100, sh200 more than what it cost last year.
Boniface Muneria, 61, a barley farmer in Bukwo ploughed 22 acres and got 240 bags of barley.
From this, he earned sh26 million compared to the sh11 million plus he earned from 8 acres last year.
He attributes this improvement to increased acreage thus use of mechanization and limited losses.
Greater use of machine labor at the farm level, in processing, and transportation has the potential to increase yields and decrease post-harvest loss. The result will be improvements in the quality of life for farmers and communities in Uganda.
Modern farming techniques double barley harvests in Bukwo