By Annita Matsika, Radio West/NECJOGHA
Kyotera, Uganda –More than 20 farmers in Kalagala village, Kasaali Town Council in Kyotera district are counting losses after unknown people raided their with toxic chemicals at night.
As a result of the chemicals, most of the crops including beans, maize, potatoes and coffee covering over nine acres, have withered.
Also, young coffee and eucalyptus trees, plus maize were uprooted and taken.
The affected farmers said they had received the coffee, beans and maize seedlings under the Operation Wealth Creation programme.
Eseza Nalubowa, one of the affected farmers, said she had grown maize and beans on one acre, but the crops have dried up since they were sprayed. She said she had expected to harvest over 400kg of beans and maize.
“I had planned to use the proceeds from sale of beans to pay my children’s school fees and also support my family during Christmas season. Now, I am stuck,” she said.
Nalubowa said the sub-county faces food scarcity as a result of the incident.
Richard Katumba, another affected farmer, lost one acre of potatoes. He said he had expected to harvest seven sacks of potatoes.
He appealed to the district security committee to intervene in the matter.
“We wonder why someone would target our gardens. They were selective in their mission because gardens in the neighbouring communities were left untouched,” he said.
Charles Baguma, another affected farmer, said his coffee and eucalyptus trees were uprooted and taken. His potato garden was also affected.
“Remember, Kalagala is one of the food baskets of Kasaali town council. Therefore, spraying of our plantations is a setback. Food insecurity and poverty will likely be the order of the day, especially during the Christmas season,” he added.
NECJOGHA has established that there has been a long standing dispute between the farmers and Buyamba parish under Masaka diocese for over more than 30 acres on which the affected farmers cultivate. The land is being occupied by 25 families.
The residents (occupants) won a case against the diocese, which was claiming ownership of the disputed land.