Masindi District's Food Supply at Risk as Farmers Favor Sugarcane Over Crops – The Ankole Times

Masindi District’s Food Supply at Risk as Farmers Favor Sugarcane Over Crops

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Leaders in Masindi District have expressed their worries about the increasing preference of farmers for sugarcane cultivation over traditional food crops. This shift in agricultural focus is causing concerns about an imminent food crisis in the region.

Masindi District chairperson, Mr. Cosmas Byaruhanga, has pointed out that the expansion of sugarcane plantations is significantly reducing the available land for growing vital food crops such as maize, bananas, and beans. This situation is jeopardizing the district’s ability to sustain its communities, and Mr. Byaruhanga stated, “We are facing a serious threat to our food security due to the rapid expansion of sugarcane plantations. This has left us with limited space to grow the food required to sustain our communities.”

The most affected areas, according to local leaders, include Bujenje and Buruli sub-counties, as well as Masindi municipality. Local farmers are selling their sugarcane to Kinyara Sugar Works in Masindi Town and the Hoima sugar factory in Hoima District. Consequently, some residents are now compelled to purchase essential food items like bananas and Irish potatoes from neighboring districts.

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Mr. Job Byaruhanga, the Masindi agricultural officer, has warned that hunger may soon become more widespread in the district, as farmers are selling off the limited food crops they are growing. To avert the looming food security crisis, Mr. Kiiza Keneth Nyendwoha, the Bunjenje MP, emphasized the need for concerted efforts to prioritize food cultivation and environmental preservation. He stated, “We need to balance economic development and the essential need to feed our communities. It’s a challenge that Masindi residents and leaders must be determined to address.”

Mr. Robert Atugonza, the chairperson of Masindi Sugarcane Farmers Association Limited (MASGAL), urged farmers with limited land not to venture into sugarcane cultivation. He suggested that the government should enhance agricultural extension services, seek markets for agricultural produce, and support farmers with quality seeds to increase food production in the district.

This shift in focus from food crops to sugarcane has led to the sourcing of bananas and Irish potatoes from other districts, indicating that local food production in Masindi District is no longer sufficient to meet the community’s needs, as noted by Mr. George Mugisa, a banana trader in Masindi Market. He stated, “We used to take pride in our local produce, but now we are sourcing bananas and Irish potatoes from other districts in Ankole like Mbarara and Kiruhura, which is a clear indication that our food production is not meeting our needs.”

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Hope Turyomurugyendo has a pivotal role as the Jobs and Tenders Notices Publisher at The Ankole Times. She is driven by a passion for connecting job seekers, entrepreneurs, and businesses with valuable opportunities in Uganda.
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