Over 200 Mbarara grape farmers are devastated due to the impact of the lockdown on their earnings.
Due to the 42-days lockdown that was imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, the supply chain of the grapes was tempered with which has forced farmers to remain stranded with their produce.
In order to keep the grapes in proper shape for consumption and for buyers, farmers are dragged to gardens where they spend long hours chasing birds that keep on poking the grapes hence affecting them.
Basing on the chairperson of the grape farmer’s umbrella body, Nyakoyojo Grape Farmers Association, Mr. Alex Asiimwe, any of the fruits keep on falling off and as for the few that stay on the plant, they are eaten by birds.
Additionally, Mr. Asiimwe informed that their greatest buyers happen to be city hawkers. However, due to the lockdown, the buyers in cities and towns are stack in towns and cannot buy the available fruits.
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While gagging the impact, Mr. Asiimwe said that as an association, they’re bound to make a loss equivalent to 20-30 tons which is approximately UGX 50 millions. All this coming from the fact that a kilogram of grapes that was once UGX 4,000 now costs in between UGX 1,500 and UGX 2,,000.
In a bid to resolve the current crisis, Mr. Asiimwe suggests that the government gives an extra push to local wim producers so as to increase their consumption of the grapes that are going to waste.
On the other hand, the farmers informed media that despite the fact that grape business is very profitable, many of them are challenged by pests and diseases that keep affecting the crops.