When will Farmers in Ruyonza embrace Modern Farming?

From the time i was a toddler, i have learnt that people in my birth place Ruyonza survive almost entirely on agriculture. I have now grown as a man, read a lot about modern farming techniques, farm management, market analysis and so on. What still troubles me however is, are my own people ready for the changes happening to farming and agriculture in our country and in Africa. The challenges we face are new ranging from infertile/over-exhausted land fields, lack of information on markets, producing wrong crops and quantities for available markets, outdated farm management practices, lack of associations (formerly cooperatives) that bring farmers together and boost their bargaining potential, impassable roads that make transportation of farm produce to markets difficult, inequality in technology usage and innovations to mention but a few.

Using  an example of  my birthplace (Ruyonza), farmers still grow mostly what they can eat or trade locally, the way they’ve always grown it. It will be Maize, beans, ground nuts, Cassava, sweet potatoes as usual in the March/July season and then Millet, Maize, beans and sorghum in the September/January season. Shocking?? This has  never changed.

There are new crops and animal breeds running like fire in the Ugandan markets for example passion fruits, poultry, bee keeping, Fish farming, Improved Zero grazing; all these have eroded  a place i call home. Commercialized agriculture is only picking up with coffee being one  of the crops giving good money to the poor Ugandans living in Ruyonza Ibanda District. There is  a big gap in access to information on markets in that at a point a farmer doesn’t know how much of their produce the market needs and what they are going to be paid for their produce on the market.

Imagine a small scale farmer who can discover easily that Cassava and carrots are expected to fetch a high price this year. He/she can also contact fellow small scale farmers to grow the same crops at different times of the year while employing modern farming techniques (like Irrigation and use of  fertilizers) and supply in bulk consistently to a customer who needs supply of Cassava and carrots all year round. And if they are assured of sale at harvest, they will do whatever it takes to maximize their yields. If government could also organize agricultural improvement talks and demonstrations at least quarterly at all sub counties, it could be easy for farmers to know what crop varieties to grow in the available soils without making losses in crops that fail to mature as desired because they were grown on wrong soils.

When information is made accessible to everyone and can flow easily the cost of doing business in agriculture reduces as well as the cost of managing risks involved with agriculture. So, how  is Pius contributing to Technology usage and commercialization of agriculture in Ruyonza? I am glad am taking part this  year with Fish farming and Piggery in March, start with 2 Saanen goats (If you can get me the goats contact me) as understudy . I am also reading about passion fruit growing and I am weighing in the prospect of adding #passionfruits to my many projects I am running this year. And as a graduate of Information Technology, I am not planning to leave #Tech out of the farming equation; always using my phone to consult, open up discussions on improving agricultural yields, learning new ways of farming, attending online seminars, streaming to educating and insightful videos that talk agriculture and organizing #Agricultural seminars at my sub-county and task district agricultural and environment officers to educate  people on Agriculture and changing trends. I remain your truly Ruyonzan Pius Muhamya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature and its beauty is always around us

Have you ever?

Have you ever posed and breathed relentlessly in awe of the wonderful things God put around us? This happens to me often. I am a candid admirer of nature and its surroundings; its through this that i get a piece of mind. Many times my heart, body, mind and soul is lost to the outrageous beautiful images and sights of nature that i can’t hear even the loudest of sounds.

Have you ever?

Have you ever sacrificed an evening of your life just to make a walk as you appreciate what is around us? The beautiful bird species and their thrilling sounds beautifully made to unlock the most hidden mysteries in you, the tall and short standing trees that make you wonder the kind of jewelry they wear and the kind of Vaseline they smear; the different insects swinging around the bushes and the glittering butterflies moving in a zigzag as they joke around and play; the miracle of the streams of water that burst from the earth to form the amazing wells, springs, lakes, rivers and oceans which all give humanity meaning.

Have you ever?

Have you ever picked your camera (never mind if its a phone camera) to just capture the beauty of nature that is around you? The ever changing cloud colors, the healing view of the sunrise and sunset, the sparkling gaze of lightning, the vibrant sights of wildlife in Ugandan national parks, and the garden-fresh crops that grace Uganda and feed her through their incarnation each season.

During Christmas Holiday like i have done always every time i get a chance took some of these photos that will live in my memory for a longtime. Enjoy the magical gaze of nature crafted in Ruyonza Village Ibanda District a place where my story begins!

The Warthog #Wildlife Sensitisation Talk

Tomorrow is the day our feet, soul and spirit will grace the land of Ruyonza to honor and show solidarity to many courageous men and woman who have suffered a scare of #Jackals for the last three and a half weeks without giving up. For me its an opportunity to en-kindle belief and hope among the many people in our community to commit to pursuing their dreams without fear of the beautiful beasts of the Wild.

Today on the last day before we welcome Ruyonza Youth Education Initiative (RYEI) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to take us through the #wildlife sensitization, i take the opportunity to talk about an animal that has been my funniest since i started visiting the National parks of #Uganda: “The #Warthog”.

  • Neither graceful nor beautiful, warthogs are nonetheless remarkable animals. They are found in most of East African countries. I have seen them in Queen Elizabeth and Lake Mburo National parks and just gazing at the run with their tails straight-up was captivating.  They are the only pigs able to live in areas without water for several months of the year. By tolerating a higher-than-normal body temperature, the warthog is perhaps able to conserve moisture inside its body that might otherwise be used for cooling.

    Physical Characteristics
    Males weigh 10 to 22 kilograms more than females, but both are distinguished by disproportionately large heads and the warts-thick protective-pads that appear on both sides of the head. Two large pairs of warts occur below the eyes, and between the eyes and the tusks, and a very small pair is found near the jaw (usually just in males).

    The face is fairly flat and the snout elongated. Eyes set high on the head enables the warthog to keep a lookout for predators even when it lowers its head to feed on short grass. The warthog’s large tusks are unusual: The two upper ones emerge from the sides of the snout to form a semicircle; the lower tusks at the base of the uppers are worn to a sharp cutting edge.

    Sparse bristles cover the warthog’s body, although longer bristles form a mane from the top of the head down the spine to the middle of the back. The skin is gray or black (or yellowish or reddish, if the warthog has been wallowing in mud). The long tail ends with a tuft of bristles.. As the young run in single file, the tail position may serve as a signal to keep them all together. Warthogs trot with a springy gait but they are known to run surprisingly fast.

    Behavior
    when water is available, warthogs drink regularly and enjoy wallowing in muddy places. As part of their grooming they also take sand baths, rub against trees and termite mounds and let tick birds pick insects off their bodies. Warthogs live in family groups of a female and her young. Sometimes another female will join the group. Males normally live by themselves, only joining the groups to mate. Warthogs engage in ritual fights in which they charge straight on, clashing heads when they meet. Fights between males can be violent and bloody.

    Warthogs sleep and rest in holes, which at times they line with grass, perhaps to make them warmer. Although they can excavate, warthogs normally do not dig holes but use those dug by other animals

    The warthog is mainly a grazer and has adapted an interesting practice of kneeling on its calloused, hairy, padded knees to eat short grass. Using its snout and tusks, it also digs for bulbs, tubers and roots during the dry season.

    Funny bits

  • It’s interesting that before giving birth to a new litter, the female chases away the litter she has been raising and secludes herself. These juveniles may join up with another solitary female for a short time before they go on their own.
  • The warthog characteristically carries its tail upright when it runs, the tuft waving like a tiny flag
  • Female warthogs only have four teats, so litter sizes usually are confined to four young. Each piglet has its “own” teat and suckles exclusively from it.
  • Even if one piglet dies, the others do not suckle from the available teat. Although the young are suckled for about 4 months, after 2 months they get most of their nourishment from grazing.
  • The warthog has poor vision (though better than most other African wild pigs), but its senses of smell and hearing are good.

Predators
Lions and leopards are the warthog’s chief enemies. Warthogs protect themselves from predators by fleeing or sliding backwards into a hole, thus being in a position to use their formidable tusks in an attack.

This marks the closure of the #Online #Countdown to the #Wildlife Sensitization Talk. I thank everyone who has contributed his/her efforts to ensure we reach this far. And i want to assure you of a successful event tomorrow. To all Ugandans out there, have respect for animals and work together with the necessary authorities to ensure they are protected and conserved.

#ForGodAndMyCountry

#WeLead

#RYEI #Wildlife

 

 

3rd Day#Wildlife sensitisation Talk- The Lion

Today marks the 3rd day of the countdown to the #Wildlife sensitization Talk taking place this Saturday at Ruyonza Primary school grounds in Ibanda District and we are talking about the Lion; also nicknamed “King of The Jungle“.

Lions are symbols of strength and courage and have been celebrated throughout history for these characteristics. They are also common symbols for royalty and stateliness, hence the phrase “king of the jungle”. They are the only big cats to live in groups, called prides. Prides are close family groups. Lions vary in color but typically sport light yellow-brown coats and mature male lions are unique among big cats due the thick brown or black manes that encircle their necks that protect them while fighting.

Lions are the largest African carnivores and a hungry lion pride feeds on many animals that pass through or share its home range. As specialized communal predators, a pride’s role includes keeping herbivore populations in balance with the resources available in their area of the plains.

Tit-Bits
Lions are the only truly social cat species, and usually every female in a pride of 5-37 individuals is closely related.
An adult lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away and warns off intruders or reunites scattered pride members.
Lions spend most of the day sleeping. And while they are inactive up to 21 hours a day, in the darkest, coolest hours of early morning the “queens of beasts” hunt as a team to catch a communal meal.

Although only one out of four hunting events is successful, dominant males always eat first, lionesses next, and cubs scramble for scraps and leftovers.
Pride lionesses frequently enter breeding season together and later give birth at the same time which allows them to share nursing and other maternal duties. Lionesses are caring mothers who will even take care of a neglected cub, allowing him/her to suckle and giving them a chance to survive.

Young cubs are vulnerable to predation or killing by hyenas, leopards and black-backed jackals. The cubs begin hunting at 11 months but remain under close of their mothers to protect them for at least two years.

Lions have terrific night vision. They are 6 times more sensitive to light than humans. This gives them a distinct advantage over some prey species when hunting at night.
The mane of the male lion is a distinctive characteristic of lions as no other big cats have them. It makes male lions appear larger, thus allowing them to be more intimidating. It also signals sexual maturity and health status; lionesses tend to favor denser and darker manes.

Be sure to catch your next read on a very funny animal: The Warthog

 

2nd Day#Wildlife sensitisation Talk- The Jackal

This is the 2nd day of the countdown to the @Wildlife Sensitization Talk and we are going to look at the #Jackal. This is the animal that attacked my birth place in Ruyonza Nsasi Subcounty In Ibanda District three weeks ago in large numbers, killing a woman in the process and countless Livestock. As i type this piece, more than 6 have been killed and the hunt goes on.

The Jackal is a Small to medium size animal and found in every savannah areas. They hunt small mammals and birds and are livestock predators. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) for extended periods of time.

In Uganda, we have two types of Jackals: the side-striped Jackal and the black-backed Jackal. The side striped jackal is the most common in Uganda . It can be seen in Queen Elizabeth National park, Kidepo Valley, Mgahinga Gorilla Park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

The Black-backed Jackal is endemic to Africa, found in two separate sub-populations: one in East Africa, Uganda included; and one in southern Africa. The specie is generally widespread. Black-backed Jackals are well suited for an opportunistic lifestyle in a wide variety of habitats. They are highly persecuted for their role as livestock killers and as rabies vectors. However, population control efforts appear largely ineffective and probably only succeed in producing a temporary reduction in local numbers.

Major Threats:

Black-backed Jackals are persecuted for their role as livestock killers and as rabies vectors.

Human-wildlife conflict is a growing threat.

As habitats are lost, jackals are increasingly infringing on human settlements, where they can be viewed as a danger to livestock and poultry and be killed as pests. This has been and is still being experienced first hand in Ibanda District where I am born.

Tit-bits

  • Jackals gestation period is 57-70 days
  • Jackals can only live between 10-12 years
  • The black- backed jackals are monogamous and mate for life. That means they also hunt in pairs.

Tomorrow be user to catch a nice read tomorrow about the King of the #Jungle, The Mighty #Lion!

#LetsLearn

#Wildlife Sensitization

#Wildlife sensitisation Talk

As part of the activities leading to the #Wildlife Sensitization Talk this Saturday, I will be talking about the different wild animals in Uganda.

Today, lets look at the #AfricanElephant

The largest living land mammal, the African elephant, is a sight to behold on Uganda’s sprawling Savannah. Their massive black forms can be seen from far away marching across the grasslands in search of the incredible amounts of vegetation they need to eat each day, along with around 114 – 189 litres of water. This constant grazing is essential to the ecosystem, as it prevents the Savannah and shrub land from turning into impenetrable forest.

Tit -bits

  • The complex nature of elephant social structure is that they mourn for deceased companions. When elephants come across deceased remains of other elephants, a silent pause is taken, as the remains are touched with their trunks. Occasionally tusks or bones are carried with them, as the herd continues to travel.
  • Elephants find bathing pleasurable. They use trunks spray water across the body. To help protect the skin from parasites and biting insects, elephants wallow in mud or spray dust on their wet skin. Once the mud and dust is dry, elephants rub against a hard surface, removing most parasites.
  • Elephants sleep about approximately four hours a night. About two hours of that are spent standing. During deep sleep, individuals lie on their sides, breathing noisily, and sometimes snoring.
  • As the time for giving birth approaches, the female will seek close contact with another female in her family unit for protection during labor.Sometimes the entire family unit circles around a female giving birth, protecting her from all sides.Females give birth while standing. The birth itself lasts only a few minutes.A single calf is usually born head and forelegs first. Twins have been documented, but are extremely rare.

Tomorrow I shall be talking about the #Jackal an animal that attacked our community weeks ago killing one woman and countless livestock.

Wild animals leaving gazetted areas! Who’s responsible?

I remember the very first day I visited Queen Elizabeth National park, the joy I felt watching Hippos at Kazinga channel, the impalas, buffaloes and elephants but seeing a lion was more special. I felt it! And not even seeing one a year later at Entebbe wildlife conservation center could match the shivers and electrifying moments I had seeing a lion fighting a leopard live in queen Elizabeth national park.

However this was not the first time I was visiting the national park as the first came in 2000 when I was ten years old. I remember the anticipation when my dad told me I was going to Lake Mburo National park. There I fell in love with zebras, and antelopes though the animal that everyone made fun of and liked was a warthog. Since then I have been a candid admirer of wild animals especially Lions and elephants. Next month as I go home for Christmas, I plan to buy a #wildlife card from Katungulu.

With all the love I have for these wild animals however, I never thought of a scenario where I would have to watch them from my home compound or farm. This is a scenario that befell my village mates of Ruyonza Parish, Nsasi Sub county Ibanda district on Friday 30th of October 2015. I was soaked in a somber mood when I heard wild animals had attacked my village where I am born and killed a friend’s (Mr. Mwebaze) wife as she took her one cow to the pastures. This made me so sad and scared!

I tried to figure out Mr. Mwebaze’s grief as he tried to come to terms with the fact that his beloved wife who had woken up healthy and cheerful was gone; and the cause of death were wild animals that we have known to be as far as Queen Elizabeth National park in Kasese District. I had all reasons to be worried as I thought; what if my mother is the next?

I hurriedly contacted UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) via mail and a team was sent to hunt for the wild beasts. The next day I would call my mother who responded in a trembling voice as he narrated how one was seen in our farm through binoculars. As luck would be on the animal’s side, it rained cats and dogs killing all the hopes to catch the animal. As I write this, UWA has not reported any positive outcome in returning these beautiful but dangerous back to their precious homes (National parks). And of now, I have been trying to contact Mr. Asalu Edward the Conservation Area Manager U ganda Wild Life Authority in vain.

It’s from this background that I ask these questions;

Who keeps these animals?

If the animals leave the park and kill people and destroy property: who’s responsible?

And lastly, is it possible to prevent wild animals from leaving gazette areas?

With these questions and hoping they will be answered, I would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities for the work it does to promote Uganda worldwide and through Uganda Wild Life Authority implore you to put up measures to prevent wild animals from leaving their beloved homes (National parks, Game reserves and Conservation Centers) to cause scenes like that in our village. This will protect animals from unpatriotic Ugandans who might kill them out of anger or selfishness. And then whenever we want to see them, we can easily trace them and marvel at the beauty Mother Nature gave to the pearl of Africa.

It would be sad not to thank my father Mr. Asiimwe Grace the great head teacher of St. Theresa Primary school for being patriotic and seeing the need to focus school trips for pupils on National parks, Conservation centers and places of national history. How else would I have loved wild life and Uganda so much at an early age?

For God and My Country

#Uganda #Tourism #Wildlife #Deaths