NEWS- Kabale University has partnered with Centre for Rural Development to promote farmers, around Lake Bunyonyi through Farmer Field schools-FFS, through which the farmers are trained on how to protect land and stop silting around Lake Bunyonyi.
According to the University Dean of faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, which is spearheading the Farmer Field schools, Prof Wilson Bamwerinde, the University is working with the farmers by providing them with farm inputs and implements.
He added that under the program, the University has also provided the farmers with domestic animals, like sheep and goats, which are meant to give them manure for their crops, so as to help them improve on productivity. This, he said follows a research which the University carried out and discovered that one of the challenges facing the farmers around Lake Bunyonyi, was lack of manure.
Prof Bamwerinde, was yesterday (Thursday) addressing members of 10 farmer groups, from the sub counties of Kitumba, and Rubaya in Kabale District and Bufundi in Rubanda District at Mukoni parish in Rubaya sub county, who have been undergoing a Five-day training on how to reduce on soil erosion and conservation Lake Bunyonyi basin.
Bamwerinde added that the farmers were equipped with skills of how to evaluate their environment and watershed, in order to see how best they can address the challenges of soil erosion, lack of natural resources, poor productivity and all other components related to Agriculture.
He said that during the training, they were able to determine the best performing farmers, who were given rewards as well as the farmers sharing their experiences, in order to address the challenges that they are faced with.
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Richard Arishaba Baaba, one of the farmers from Kariko Farmer Field School, said that the farmer field schools, have given them the hands on skills and expertise, since they are practically done in the crop fields.
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Godfrey Bareebwa, another farmer said that during the training, they were taught that, the major causes of soil erosion are poor agricultural practices and deforestation, which if not dealt with can result into food insecurity as a result of poor agriculture production and poverty.
Presiding over the function to reward the best performing farmers, the Kabale University Vice Chancellor, Prof Joy Kwesiga, noted that previously soil conservation practices, were mandatory for all farmers and wondered why there was laxity in enforcing them.
She noted that the skills given to farmers, have helped to improve on their agriculture produce, adding that gauging by the yields by farmers under the Farmer Field schools, it’s encouraging that through mindset change, better practices can be embraced.
Prof Kwesiga, said that the famers field schools have helped the farmers to set targets, which she said is important, if development is to be realized in their families.
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The Kabale District Senior entomologist, Honest Tumuheirwe, who was one if the Farmer Field school facilitators, noted that the farmer field schools, are commensurate with Government’s Parish Development Model-PDM strategy that is aimed at transforming subsistence households into money economy.