Makerere University Researchers Recommend Modern Farming for Kikuube and Hoima Districts.

KIKUUBE – Researchers from Makerere University have recommended modern farming to Agricultural Officers from the districts of Kikuube and Hoima.

They further urged Agricultural Officers of these districts to sensitize farmers to embrace modern farming after they found out that the soil in the area was exhausted from traditional farming.

The call was sounded by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi, the Principal Investigator for Makerere University Research Innovation Fund Project, last Friday at Buhimba Sub County Head Office in Kikuube district as he was disseminating research findings that were conducted to develop a fertilizer provisional rate on some crops such as Maize, Upland Rice, and Bananas.

The research which was conducted between July 2020 and July 2021 was carried out in Kikuube, Hoima, Namutumba, Mukono Bwikwe, and Wakiso districts after the government funded the College of Agriculture and Environmental Science to conduct research on how farmers can be helped to have better markets and production.

In Kikuube and Hoima districts, the researchers conducted soil testing and plant testing for Maize and Upland Rice and it was found that the soils in these two areas had issues.

He says that soil nitrogen and organic carbon are still modulating whilepotassium, zink, and phosphorus were very low in the soils.

Musinguzi added that soils in some areas such as Buhimba, Kiziranfumbi in Kikuube district, and Butebere in Buhanika Sub-County were found with low and high iron content.

The research findings indicate soils in different parts of the two districts were found with a lot of gravels and stone environment with shallow depths making such soils favorable for grazing and forestry.

According to Musinguzi, such a challenge calls for improved soil nutrients management if the soils are to continue to be productive.

In his research, Dr. Musinguzi recommended that there is a need for farmers in their current state to apply interim or provisional fertilizer as a response to the trials and to keep a record of all input costs so as to compute the profitability associated with fertilizer use.

He also recommended that policy action is needed to consider fertilizer costs and optimized fertilizer use amidst climate change challenges.

He further added that there is a need to help farmers market, conduct weather research, and carry out soil testing before engaging in any productivity of any crop.

He also noted that the challenge faced in Agriculture is that many people are engaging in farming as a last resort and they end up not benefiting.

“People are still practicing subsistence farming and this method is keeping many farmers in poverty,” he said, adding that there is a need to sensitize farmers to undertake agriculture as a business.

As the country heads to implement the parish model of development, there is a need for farmers to embrace research and soil testing; adding these two factors are key in improving Agriculture productivity.

“Without prioritizing research and soil testing, farmers end up applying fertilizers where it is not required and they grow crops on unfavorable soil and they end up making loses, when you do soil and farm test you can be able to estimate the fertilizers to use”

Dr. Musinguzi also called leaders and Agricultural Officials to help maize farmers get alternative crops adding that research described maize as a crop that is not economically viable given the nature of the soils.

According to him, maize is a deep-rooted crop yet different areas such as Buhimba Sub County, Kikuube district have soils with shallow depth that make it unfavorable for maize growing. He noted that the soils need crops that are shallow-rooted such as Rice, Millet, and Sim-sim among others.

He noted that such soil needs a lot of feeding [fertilize application] which makes it very expensive compared to the market price of maize. He advised farmers to engage in maize production for food security but not for commercial purposes.

“We do recommend that some crops that we are planting, let us plant them mindful of the rooting environment of these crops; we recommend crops with shallow roots because we have a very different environment here, but also if you look at the areas that have deep soils like if you go towards Butembere in Buhanika Sub-County and Bulindi in Kyabigambire Sub-County in Hoima district; the soil in those areas look to be deep and they could favor crops that are deep-rooted. So as a farmer, you need to be careful and select the crops in these soils” he said.

Suleiman Mulindwa, the Agricultural Officer for Kyangwali Sub-County says, the research was long overdue adding that the findings are a wake-up call to all farmers to adopt modern farming to ensure productivity on their land.

He noted that most farmers are in agriculture but they do not mind about the issue of soil nutrient management and this has made soil unproductive adding that it’s high time farmers started seeking services of extension workers to help them in the management of their soils if they are to benefit from farming.

He added that farming in the area is becoming tricky due to changing seasons as a result of climate change. He noted that there is a need for the government to support farmers with irrigation and subsidized fertilizers in an effort to promote agriculture.

David Onyita and Vicente Barongo, the Agriculture Officers of Kabwoya Sub County in Kikuube district and Buseruka Sub County in Hoima district respectively said that there is a need for government to come up with stringent policies to fight against bush and garbage burning which they said is increasingly affecting soils.

They noted that soil organic carbon which helps plants to consume fertilizers from the soils is mostly lost through bush and garbage burning.

According to them, the habit of bush burning and garbage [grass] burning in gardens by farmers is rampant in the region and called for government intervention.

“Any soil without organic carbon is wasted soil; even if you apply fertilizer on such land that fertilizer cannot work, so we need to have measures to protect our soils from losing such ingredients.


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