Hoima District, August 26, 2015:
The leadership pf Hoima District has pledged to fully support the Better Farming Better Me project aimed at supporting tobacco farmers to diversify from tobacco growing to other alternatives.
Addressing a team from CTCA and Resilient Africa Network (RAN) that is in the district to carry out a baseline and needs finding survey, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr. Mark Tivu promised to incorporate the model into the district plan so as to widen the scope. He welcomed the project saying that it was long overdue. The Better Farming, Better Me Project will be implemented in conjunction with Good Leisure Farm and is aimed at introducing Kroiler chicken farming and high yield maize as alternative enterprises to tobacco farming. It will be introduced as a pilot in two sub-counties, focusing on three parishes from each of the sub-counties.
Mr. Tivu, who is from West Nile, another tobacco growing region, noted that West Nile is currently one of the poorest regions after all land and vegetation was destroyed for tobacco growing.
The Hoima LC 5 chairperson Mr. Fred Kakoraki said tobacco growing has affected both the tobacco farmers and none farmers noting that the environment and the soils have been greatly affected due to tobacco farming. Mr. Kakoraki said the house holds for tobacco farmers constantly have poor health associated with tobacco, adding that they need to be helped to move to better and healthier enterprises.
The District Production Officer, Dr. Kajura said after the project has been streamlined, it will be integrated into existing programs to maximize the benefits across board.
The baseline and needs finding survey is being carried out in two sub-counties of Kigolobya and Kitoba, where the demonstrations will take place, while Bwanika will be the control sub-county. The baseline is aimed at establishing the existing farming practices as well as information related to options for income diversification, saving culture, value addition, and existing partners and services that the project can ride on. The two selected sub-counties are the highest tobacco growing areas in the district.
The Kitoba Sub county Chief, Ms. Evelyn Akuha revealed that the three parishes in her sub-county ( Bulyango, Kiryangobe and Birungi) with pamper tobacco production are the poorest with high school drop outs, malnutrition and famine. She therefore welcomed the project and pledged her full support and commitment to ensure that it succeeds. The high tobacco growing parishes reft
As part of the baseline survey, a total of two hundred and forty households are to be interviewed, in addition to the Focused Group Discussions as well as the Key informant interview.
Indicative findings so far show that a number of farmers would be willing to transition to other alternatives if they can be assured of markets and competitive prices for their products.