UGANDA FARMERS CELEBRATE FERTILIZER DAY – BY WILLIAMS MOI ARIMO

Ugandan rural farmers have celebrated amidst heavy rain fertilizer day which they termed as ‘’DAP fertilizer day’ ’and was later accompanied by a field tour of improved beans under test despite heavy rain.

The wonderful ceremony was organized by Anotoocao cooperative society together Jabba engineering limited which took place recently at Anotocao village,Adigo Parish ,Loro sub count ,Oyam district, Uganda.

The Cooperatives’ chairman Jasper Otim (in picture) urged the farmers to acclimatize the use of fertilizers in their farm such as “DAP, insecticide, Fungicide, Foliar, Mob, Lime” among others. In less than an acre of land which soil is tested, a farmers could have harvest between 300kgs of beans to 900kgs . He added that the best to use was DAP fertilizer so as to increase on farm yield (see farmers in the field).

Otim said that is cooperative linked with JABBA soils laboratory in Kampala with branch officers in Gulu district, Lira city and Mbale to trained farmers in Oyam district on soil testing before planting any crops “. I urge the farmers to adapt soil tests and use of fertilizers as new technology” he added.

He said that by regular training and testing the soil that is (NPK) has earned the farmers the best yields of beans this year with exotic quality seeds which will spread in their locality later. Mr. otim said that his cooperative had managed to train 5 farmers- groups from Ngai, Oyam, Aber,Loro ,Kamdini and Iceme sub-countries each in groups of 30 farmers including men and women, who were all invited to the colourful function marred by heavy rainfall that day. Otim narrates that if funds were availed he would continue to train more farmers on soil testing for the better yield always.

He said that, “agriculture is the key, pipe line and a solution to life which everybody should adapt”.

Otim went on narrating that when his group members planted their beans in 05 acres of land and added fertilizer to remove acidity from the soil a week ago they took two weeks to go and check to find that the yellow beans had changed to green pleasing all the farmers with a good harvest as a result.

‘’Do not blame others on witchcraft that it fails our crops but dwell on chemicals or fertilizers for the bests yields. Please bulk our crops and sell them at good prizes ‘.’He said. He added that soil testing was done on beans, bazooka maize types as a new technology to the local farmers. ’Our plan is to emphasize crop resilience and get ready with enough food for climate change attention as is being reiterated at COP27 in Egypt now.

To draw our attention a bit, UNCOP27 report emphasizes five key areas  about African countries ie nature,food,water,industries,financing,decarbonization and climate change adaptation as areas of mitigation. It asks all parties especially those in position to ‘’lead by example’ ’and urged to take key, bald and immediate actions ,to reduce emissions to limit Global warming well below 2 degrees centigrade. According to the UN climate change chief Mr.…….He says, ’ensure COP 27 makes the ‘’crucially needed progress’’ towards enhancing climate change resilience and assisting the World’s most vulnerable communities. He adds that, ’we look to the next country, the next business, the next person to do what it takes.’’COP27 Report further says that food production has reduced by 21% as of 2021 to date and over 821bn people were hungry due to the effects of climate change in our environment, new technology and food systems resilience.

On the same day director Jabba Engineering limited Mr.Ahimbisibwe Denis said, “It was better to test the soil before planting any crop and indeed their work was discernible in the village harvest. He added that Jabba provides services such as innovative solution which cover soil nutrient testing,farm mapping and profiling, fertilizers plans, as well as water testing solution etc. which started in year 2009.

According to Ojok Walter ,aged 26 years old, Chairman Abakoirao B youth group says that he started group formation in 2018 after attaining education from Minakullu Technical school where he found out that there is money in agriculture, when he went back home he started planting crops straight always.When his soil was tested two months ago was found bad but after which was good.’’Iam now experimenting DK 777 in an acre together with Jabba where they gave us DAP,MOP, and lime for free test. We have 21 women and 9 members. ‘’Our focus is to sell agricultural products and buy two oxen and a plough to help us in farming. Another focus is to grow in agriculture for 10 years as long as we grow older to make money from agriculture.

Accordig to Jasinta Ayo, Chairperson Teiganda farmers group, located at Aira cell,Eastern ward,Loro sub county near Loro Town Council, am district, said testing the soil is good always but now planted DK 777,80,90 types of improved maize variety under test to determine soil fertility which was found acidic  after samples were taken to Gulu before adding fertilizer component, now is okay. The demonstration took place in an exhausted soil where we also planted maize but at first destroyed by climate change and sunshine. We got help from Loro sub county extension workers Cosmos Atim and Mildred Acen.If I had tested my soil first before planting, I would have harvested more bags .But now I yearn for change through agriculture. Our vision was to form groups and save money from agricultural products to buy better seeds for planting and later transform to a cooperative society. ‘Jacinta said.

Subsequently on the same occasion Mr.Akisoferi Okumu who is soil scientist at Jabba Gulu branch said they were ready to test the soils for any farmer or anybody who desire those services but did not elaborate if any costs were require or not.

Other testimonies about the good of soil testing came from Opio Ambrose,Oryem Luke of soya solutions Kamdini town ,Rolex Asimwe of  AHMWE Lira city,Oyite Emmanuel of NOK Obanga group, and Ogwal Martin of Bedo Ber Community all off different companies and cooperatives.

The guest speaker on the fertilizer day Mr.Patrick Odoymo, who is the principle agricultural officer Oyam district of Lango sub region said in his speech ,’’What is important now in agriculture coupled with climate change to improve our soil nutrient by testing it ie NPK (N=Nitrogen,P=Phosphorus K=Potassium ,for a better yield. He told farmers during the ceremony and the field tour that they should know which types of crop to plant such as cover crops beans and maize. However he warned them against overdosing fertilizer or under application because it is just like more salt added to food. Odyomo said that at times the soil is poor due to improper weeding and climate but when all the components are observed by planting timely all is well. For e.g. an acre of improved bazooka maize could yield up to 3000kg but may only reach 1800kg due to bad soil if not tested.

‘’There should be no more movement from place to place looking for loam soil like in the past .I only emphasize on the best use of fertilizer. When we use fertilizer correctly on our soils, we get the best harvest and add income to our pockets. I therefore advise the farmers in Lango sub region–Uganda to link with agricultural department, extension workers such as Ngetta Zardi,Jabba soil laboratories and the ministry of agriculture to conduct soil tests in their fields before planting . Please take agriculture as a business. Use organic or inorganic fertilizers always in our farms.Inorder to be climate-change oriented follow weather forecast on radio, online and on media, which is the only way to adapting and mitigating it in our territories. Practice drainage use to divert rain water to our crops in our gardens. Plant cover crops under trees. ’He said

However there could be difficulties in affording fertilizer to apply in our gardens but I advise you to form or join farmer groups and contact agro input dealers for supply. Know the amount to use or contact quality assurance out lets for guidance. ’He said

However during the field tour of the improved bean-farm, a distance away from the main venue heavy rain interrupted and scattered the famers at the celebration. The farmers fled the field in different directions by different means of transport vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and on foot. Most of the participants were beaten whereas others escaped back to the venue to find their seats disarranged .The interference of the rain made Jabba Laboratories postpone the sample tests of the soil meant for the guests until further notice, whereas the kits were already displayed before the participants where many farmers were eager to learn more about soil testing thus ending the ceremony abruptly.

Notably, Tonny SCADO Ngai sub count lost his motorcycle key during the stampede caused by the rain and was only helped to ignite by another.