A group of local commercial farmers have embarked on training local peasant farmers to engage in better farming methods that are accommodative in the fight against climate change.
The farmer argues that without local farmers engaging in better practices, the fight against climate change may remain a fallacy since they are the greatest keepers, users but also destroyers of the environment whose destruction especially by destroying the green environment contributes much to climate change.
Mr Alex Bigirwa, the head of the commercial farmer group says with increasing disasters, crop diseases, and prolonged droughts, there is a need to engage local farmers to practice better methods, make the right choices for crops, seeds, and seedlings if proper resilience to dangers of climate change is to be mitigated.
“We have dried most of our wetlands, we burn buses and hills every dry season; we challenge the free flow of climate and create disasters. Seasons are changing and the world is becoming hotter every day. As big farmers, we must influence the small holder farmers who go for wetlands in the dry season and burn bushes to have better yields when it rains to change their perspective. But we must put something on the table.” Mr. Bigirwa says
He says they are engaging local farmers in the use of fertilizers, supplying proper seeds and seedlings, and are in the process of having mobile irrigation facilities that can allow farmers to produce all season long.
Ms Flora Kagihe, a peasant farmer in Nyaburiza village Nyarutuntu Sub County says they are adopting proper farming methods from the training they have had with the group.
“We used to know that without burning grass before preparing a garden you can’t have yields, but for the past three years they have engaged us and we see even better yields without burning. The challenge is that the methods they teach us are at times more expensive.” Ms Kagihe says.
Ms. Meridah Koburende, a farmer who also does casual work in other people’s gardens says she started copying from the farms of ‘rich men’ she has been tilling to implement in her own until they started training them similar methods which she says are helping her and other farmers in Nyarutuntu sub-county for better yields.
Apart from the training, farmers are aided to access better seeds and seedlings, collect water from running rain water from hills for irrigation and are trained to use the wetlands sustainably rather than planting there.
Bigirwa says the recent prolonged drought that dried most of the crops including coffee has shown the farmers who have been resisting the initiative that they need to take charge of their environment if they are to have better yields.