Inadequate Extension Workers Affecting Operations of Plant Clinics

1681 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
At Mugusu Sub County headquarters, Fred Bahemuka, a farmer says that the extension workers came to the headquarters five months ago and have never returned.

The inadequate number of extension workers in Kabalore district is affecting the operations of plant clinics there. Kabalore district established the plant clinics last year to boost agricultural productivity. The mobile plant clinics operate in public places such as markets, which are easily accessible to locals. They are found at the parish and village level.

Farmers take samples of their diseased crops to the extension workers who offer them advice on how to manage or control the disease. However, the inadequate number of the extension workers in the district is affecting the operations of clinics leaving several farmers with no one to turn to for advice. Uganda Radio Network visited Karambi Market, where several farmers were stranded with samples of diseased crops.  Beatrice Basemera, a farmer, says she lost her entire cassava garden to the cassava Brown Streak virus.
 
Basemera says that she has tried to seek advice from the extension workers for the past one month on how to treat and prevent the disease in vain. At Mugusu Sub County headquarters, Fred Bahemuka, a farmer says that the extension workers came to the headquarters five months ago and have never returned. Bahemuka says he is facing challenges on how to treat and prevent his crops from diseases and pests. He says it’s costly for farmers to travel to the district agricultural offices in Fort Portal town.

//Cue in: “they don’t come…
Cue out: “…transport is high.”//

Henry Mugasa, the Chairperson Kabarole District Farmers Association, wants the district to hire more extension workers. He says since the inception of the plant clinics, there have been positive results in some areas where farmers have improved yields.  Amos Mugume, the Kabarole district agricultural officer says there are only seven extension workers in the district serving the two counties. He says the number is too limited to attend to all farmers in the district.
 
He says they plan to use community knowledge workers (CKW) to operate the clinics. Mugume says some of the CKWs are local farmers and are trusted by their communities and are knowledgeable about treating and preventing pests and diseases. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), pests and diseases are major threats to food security and livelihoods in most developing countries.

The WFP carried out research, which stated that farmers lose 40 per cent of the potential value of food crops to insects, weeds and diseases before harvest. In Uganda, the clinics have spread from to 45 districts, and have been provided as a free service to the farmers.
 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.