BY JAMES MUYA
KARENGA: FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2022
The Karamoja sub-region is famous in the media for growing insecurity, cattle rustling and starvation but amidst this chilling narrative, one young man in Karenga district is on a mission to offer news of hope to Karamoja.
“Not the whole of Karamoja is dry. In Karenga we are having more rains than Gulu right now. Places like Amudat and Namalu are wet lands, you can even have fish ponds there. It is just poor mindset,” he said.
Eric Logwee, 34, is a resident of Lokodope village in Karenga Town council who is pioneering Arabica coffee growing.
He says he got inspiration after seeing farmers in other parts of Uganda develop by embracing coffee while he got the opportunity to move around the country as supervisor of GMK Agric, a company involved in agricultural mechanization.
“The Karamojong are raiding cattle because there is no sense of direction. Someone needs to give a sense of direction and this cannot be the people preaching doom. I have been exposed to what is in other parts of the country, so, my brain is thinking differently,” he reiterated.
His coffee nursery bed, apparently the only such facility in a sub-region of nine districts, has 20,000 seedlings of which about 3,000 are ready for transplanting.
“I have registered 80 pioneer farmers including my mother and my wife. I will be planting one acre of coffee every year for five years and I want the rest of Karamoja to do the same,” Logwee said.
He says coffee growing is a simple work so long as you are committed and hard working.
He uses groups of village savings and loan associations to cultivate, plant and weed in his field.
In Karenga, an acre of garden is cultivated at sh110,000 and Logwee, previously a farmer of sorghum, maize and cotton, advises that those willing to embrace farming in Karamoja should prepare the gardens early to take advantage of the early rains for planting.
Even the holes for planting coffee should be dug two months before planting the seedlings,” he said.
With such enterprising initiative, Logwee is hoping that the Uganda Coffee Development Authority takes notice and pays special attention to develop coffee growing in Karamoja.