Tomatoes rot in gardens—farmers decry

By Kule Ronald

KASESE. Tomato farmers in Kasese district are facing a rough share of the south Sudan and eastern Congo insurgencies, as their tomatoes continue to rot in their gardens due to lack of market from the two countries’ potential traders.

The most affected farmers are in Karusandara Sub County who would export their tomatoes directly to south Sudan and to the nearby Mpondwe Lhubiriha market at the Uganda-Congo border for ready market.

But since fresh violence hit the world’s youngest nation early this year with access borders being closed, acres of ripe tomatoes are now decomposing in many plantations in Kasese as farmers have failed to get the product’s market here in Uganda.

According to Elizabeth Birungi of Kanamba parish in Karusandara, the price of tomatoes have drastically dropped down since the insurgency and the situation is seriously affected their incomes.

Birungi who planted four acres of tomatoes says that she only realized 2million shillings from the harvest against the 2.5million she invested and the 20million profit she was expecting from her farm.

We used to take these tomatoes to south Sudan, because of wars now we sell to nearby consumers at low price, a basin now is sold between Shs 3000= and Shs 4000= only unlike the past when it used to be sold between Shs 20,000-30,000” Birungi said.

Gerald Musinguzi another tomato farmer in Karusandara told our reporter that they decided to abandon the ripe tomatoes in their gardens after being demoralized by the market price flop.

Musinguzi says outripe tomatoes rotting karusandara farms of his two acres of tomatoes, he only collected ten basins for home consumption and left the rest to rot in the garden with hope that they can generate manure for soil fertility.

Also according to Vian Musika the project manager disaster risk reduction project under save the children japan, which currently working together with community members in Karusandara to establish community manageable small scale irrigation schemes, most of the tomatoes are currently decaying in farms.

“These tomatoes you are seeing decaying circulated the market and because they were being exported to those countries direct, so if you want to see the impact of war partly now you see these rotting tomatoes” Musika added. Ends

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