Experts call for ‘natural’ farming methods

Scientists warn the agriculture sector is headed for doom unless local farmers are compelled to reduce on the use of dangerous chemicals like synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.

A survey by agricultural support NGO Pelum Uganda shows that soil fertility is declining and output becoming more expensive due to mismanagement.

Among views collected from farmers by Pelum, was the lack of government direct support to the sector, as well as falling markets, poor access to credit, high taxes on inputs, poor seeds and few inspectors as the main challenges for farmers.

Speaking at the release of the survey in Kampala today (Friday), development consultant at Nonna Consults said it is high time government stopped claiming that agriculture is the backbone of the economy, yet it’s among the least-funded departments.

In the 2019/2020 national budget, the sector was allocated just over 1 trillion shillings or about 2.4 percent, far below the 10 percent that African countries recommended in the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture in 2003.

Consultant Daniel Lukwago of Nonna Consults says it’s absurd for government to term agriculture the backbone of the economy yet it’s the least funded sector.

A researcher on agro-ecology, Dr Richard Jumba says it is time for farmers to move away from chemicals for natural methods or the soils will get poorer and farming more expensive, amidst increase in diseases like cancer.

He says there are many natural/traditional methods that can be used to control pests and diseases.

By Nebert Rugadya