Bundibugyo Cocoa Farmers Decry Low Production

Farmers in Bundibugyo district have expressed concern over the poor production of Cocoa amidst rising costs incurred during the planting season.  The farmers attribute the low production to bad weather, pests, and diseases.

Currently, a kilogramme of fresh cocoa goes for between 4,000 and 5,000 Shillings while dry cocoa is 7,000 Shillings per kilo a price that has stagnated for a year. There are also heightened fears that the prices may drop further in the coming seasons.  

Despite the drop in production, the farmers say they have spent a lot of money to guard their gardens from armed thugs who raid them to steal the crop.  

Annet Nampijja, a cocoa farmer attributed the major factor responsible for the low production to unfavorable weather, fake chemicals sold in the market, and lack of financial support from the government.    She adds that due to the ongoing rainy season, they are faced with storage challenges and this usually affects the quality of their harvests.

Sadress Kabugho another cocoa farmer says her fortunes have over the last three years gone down after the cocoa pod borer infested her garden.  She however called for more commitment from the government towards cocoa production and to equip farmers through training, and funding as well as provide extension workers to assist the farmers.

Wilfred Aliganyira, a cocoa buyer says most of the cocoa trees have grown old beyond 30 years, and subsequently, their productivity is declining.  He adds that if the government can provide the needed tools and materials cocoa farmers need to operate, it will encourage farmers’ production.

Joshua Makune, says low production has subsequently affected household incomes.

Robert Tubakunirwa, the LCV Chairperson wants the government to intervene and carry out research on why there is a decline in the production of cocoa and vanilla in the area.

He says the local population largely depends on the two cash crops as a source of livelihood.

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