FERTIZERS AND PESTICIDES USED IN TEA GROWING ARE VERY DENGEROUS

I started last week with my articles about the dangers that people need to know about tea growing such that there is clarity in venturing into the project today i go to explain the dangers of the pesticides used in this system.
Like any intensive monocropping, tea farming to generate those million tons of dried plant material each year means a great deal of land is utilized for growing it. As demand increases, so does the amount of land required. The massive alteration of habitats for farming tea means some plant and animal species native to that area suffer and it’s this desperate need that then farmers start using fertilisers and pesticides to meet the demand.
It must be noted that environmental impact of pesticides consists of the effects of pesticides on non-target species. This means that the pesticides used affect both the plants in the wild and the domesticated ones because its estimated that Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than their target species, because they are sprayed or spread across entire agricultural fields.
Runoff can carry pesticides into aquatic environments while wind can carry them to other fields, grazing areas, human settlements and undeveloped areas, potentially affecting other species. Other problems emerge from poor production, transport and storage practices. Over time, repeated application increases pest resistance, while its effects on other species can facilitate the pest’s resurgence.
Additionally, pesticides and artificial fertilizers are often used in tea plantations to restore nutrients used by the tea bush and to fend off parasites. The resulting soil degradation is a major issue, one usually addressed by using even more fertilizer and chemicals that further compounds the soil degradation problem.
With our rich biodiversity in our waters it must be noted that Chemical runoff into waterways can also be a problem. The biggest issue facing the use of chemical fertilizers is groundwater contamination. Nitorgen fertilizers break down into nitrates and travel easily through the soil. Because it is water-soluble and can remain in groundwater for decades, the addition of more nitrogen over the years has an accumulative effect on the contamination of our waters.
Some one popular fertilizer, urea, produces ammonia emanation, contributes to acid rain, groundwater contamination and ozone depletion due to release of nitrous oxide by denitrification process. With its increased use and projections of future use, this problem may increase several fold in the coming decades and the increased growing of tea will bring about such hazards not only to the growing areas but the first ones to suffer will be these same areas
Groundwater contamination has been linked to gastric cancer, goitre, birth malformations, and hypertension; testicular cancer and stomach cancer which are all dangerous to human health.
Excessive air- and water-borne nitrogen from fertilizers may cause respiratory ailments, cardiac disease, and several cancers, as well as can “inhibit crop growth, increase allergenic pollen production, and potentially affect the dynamics of several vector-borne diseases, including West Nile virus, malaria, and cholera.”
Perhaps one of the scariest effects of chemical fertilizers is something called methemoglobinemia. In infants it is alternatively known as Blue Baby Syndrome. The risk most often occurs when infants are given formula reconstituted with nitrate contaminated water. The condition causes a decrease in oxygen in the blood and results in a blue-grey skin colour, causes lethargy and/or irritability and can lead to coma or death.7 I’ve been unable to find whether the same risk exists for breastfeeding babies whose mothers drank contaminated water.
Nitrogen groundwater contamination also contributes to marine “dead zones”. The increase in the water-soluble nitrates creates an influx of plant-life, which eats up oxygen and starves out fish and crustaceans. This has an impact not only on the aquatic ecosystem, but on local societies who depend on food sourced from those areas.
Pesticides have been linked with deleterious effects on human health and that of the environment. Children exposed to pesticides have increased rates of leukaemia and brain cancer, and pregnant women with exposure have higher miscarriage rates, according to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Pesticides may also damage the lungs and nervous system. In nature, pesticides pollute the air, water and ground. As a result, plant and animal life may die or become sick and malformed
Phosphorus from fertilizer can cause algae to accumulate in lakes and ponds, killing fish by robbing them of oxygen. Fertilizers can also contaminate water with an overabundance of phosphates and nitrates, making it unsafe for consumption. Oxidized nitrogen, a by-product of synthetic fertilizers, also increases smog, which may be related to higher incidence of respiratory illness and asthma.
These fertilisers I mention above are commonly used in tea growing I therefore think before they are used people come out and read about this important note to consider our living today and tomorrow.

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It is unusual for FDC to move on at this critical time!

The FDC fraternity has just experienced what we called an ethical dilemma in making a decision to comply with roles of the Opposition in Parliament. An ethical dilemma occurs when a compelling circumstance arises where the voice of reason ought to prevail bearing in mind all the plausible alternatives, and choosing the ones that maximizes benefits, causes least harm and generally good intentioned for the cause.

Many commentaries arose challenging FDC Party President, Gen Muntu’s decision to comply with demands to play Opposition in Parliament. FDC has the largest number of sworn MPs in the 10th Parliament and yet, FDC is also engulfed in the fight that its Presidential flag bearer won the February 18, 2016 general elections. Gen Muntu says, his party cannot wail over spilled milk forever and that it is high time they realized that NRM usurped power and established itself as the ruling party.

Muntu’s fluidity in this compliance may not be something unusual but the timing matters. Many of the NRM sympathizers in Opposition have already applauded his decision and lavished Gen. Muntu as the voice of moderation. In fact, the very reason that a significant section of FDC historicals opposed the candidature of Dr Kizza Besigye for the last election was also that Gen Muntu is amiable. However, the Ugandan politics is getting increasingly complex and devoid of principles.

Uganda no longer has genuine opposition to the government of President Museveni. Any plausible opposition should organize and claim its victory after an election. None of the so-called Opposition groups have the capacity to claim and galvanize their own victories. This is a dilemma because political parties have lost meaning and sense of purpose

Further, the traditional parties no longer have either the moral acuity or the capability to generate proper leadership, both within their own parties and for the country. Internal bickering, snitching, sabotage, slandering, and sectarian politics have compounded with personal greed to restrict space for emergence of new leadership. Members within the opposition are either in pursuit of a career or are in politics to build houses and obtain luxury. None of them can truly claim to have proper intentions of a true freedom fighter. The zeal for a free life has been subordinated with the lust for luxury.

For FDC, it is a bouncing platform where NRM plays its card games, and where those who have fallen out with NRM come to reload their political fortunes. In essence, most of the people in FDC are people who are struggling for personal glory as opposed to legitimate struggle for liberation. They believe they already liberated the country in 1986. The likes of Ingrid Turinawe, Kizza Besigye and the committed strugglers are labeled radicals and treated harshly for fear of this contradiction.

Both UPC and DP are now a variation of NRM. UPC- Akena is in bed with Mr. Museveni, while UPC-Otunnu is with Amama Mbabazi’s NRM, since JPAM refuses to denounce the NRM. Then we have DP with a number of its members working directly with the intelligence networks to snitch and undermine the top party officials for pittance. In essence, none of the so-called political parties in Uganda has capacity or genuine interests to remove the dictatorship. For them, whether NRM or FDC is in power, their privileges remains consolidated. Preserved!

Given these conundrums, one can say that Dr. Kizza Besigye is a unique brand of politician. Dr. Besigye is betrayed by his contemporaries for his bravery and genuine efforts at removing dictatorship.

Since Dr Besigye brand has become bigger than all the opposition groups combined, he is now more a subject of annihilation by the Opposition elements than even the establishment.

In submitting to the frauds of Mr. Museveni and taking the role of Opposition Party, Gen. Muntu can speak tactical language all he wants. Many will view his move as treacherous to Dr Besigye. At least, FDC could have first demanded that the state releases KB unconditionally and engages in dialogue to settle the political dilemma arising out of unresolved electoral reforms for future elections.

It is just unusual to move on at this critical time when your leader is in prison, facing treason, or in the absence of electoral reforms.

Uganda Diaspora P10
http://www.ugandadiasporap10.org.

ARTICLE 2 TEA DENGEROUS TO ECOLOGICAL BIODIVERSITY OF KIGEZI

Kigezi has a very rich ecological biodiversity it has species that are not found in other regions or even in the world we have our beautiful mountains, hills, valleys, swamps Rivers and many other natural resources our fertile soils and a courageous hard working people. Today in my series of articles about tea growing I would want to explain how tea might erode our ecological biodiversity.

Ecological Biodiversity is the diversity of ecosystems, natural communities and habitats.  In essence, it’s the variety of ways that species interact with each other and their environment.   The forests of Kibale differ from the forests of Bwindi and Mughinga by the types of species found in ecosystems, as well as the temperature and rainfall.  These two seemingly similar ecosystems have a lot of differences that make them both special.

Biodiversity is extremely important to people and the health of ecosystems.  A few of the reasons are:

Biodiversity allows us to live healthy and happy lives.  It provides us with an array of foods and materials and it contributes to the economy.  Without a diversity of pollinators, plants, and soils, our food baskets and markets would have a lot less produce.

Most medical discoveries to cure diseases and lengthen life spans were made because of research into plant and animal biology and genetics.  Every time a species goes extinct or genetic diversity is lost, we will never know whether research would have given us a new vaccine or drug for both the existing diseases and the new diseases to come since we would have lost the species.

Biodiversity is an important part of ecological services that make life liveable on Earth. They include everything from cleaning water and absorbing chemicals, which wetlands do, to providing oxygen for us to breathe, one of the many things that plants do for people

. However the above functions are threatened because of the tea developments in Kigezi Modern agricultural methods and technologies brought spectacular increases in food and economic production, but not without high environmental costs. Tea isn’t an exception.  Efforts to boost tea production, for example, through direct expansion of tea land, will negatively affect the capacity of ecosystems to support food production and to provide other essential services. Food production will undoubtedly be affected by external factors such as climate change.

Tea is a perennial plantation crop grown under monoculture providing favourable conditions for a variety of pests. The concept of pest control has undergone a considerable change over the past few decades. In recent years there has been a greater dependence on the use of pesticides with little importance laid on other safe control methods for the management of tea pests. Due to this practice, the tea pests showed a higher tolerance/ resistance status due to formation of greater amount of esterases, glutathione S-transferase and acetyl cholinesterase

With the loss of biodiversity in both natural and agricultural systems comes the loss of other ecosystem services. In addition to food, fibre and water provisioning, regulating services such as air, water and climate regulation, water purification, pollination and pest control, as well as providing resilience against natural hazards and disasters and environmental change, are among the numerous examples of ecosystem services being lost under increasing intensification and expansion of agriculture. This adds to the fact that all other trees and animal species would have died as the tea expansion projects are under way. Therefore we must not only be scared about food security alone but we must be keen and be able to learn and know that we might lose our most important animals the gorillas in years to come is we don’t think hard

Before I finish today’s article however lets open up and considering that the central component in preventing loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, such as provisioning of water, from expanding agricultural production is to limit the trade-off between economic growth and biodiversity by stimulating agricultural productivity and more efficient land use. Therefore the people of Kigezi should keenly look into this and manage to make the tradeoffs that make them better people and if it’s not necessary to have the tea growing expanded it can be halted!

 

TEA IN UGANDA MY INTROUNDUCTION: ARTICLE1

I have decided to start advising my country on what I studied while at university. I come from Kanungu kigezi south western Uganda. Our people have taken up tea growing as a source of livelihood. I therefore want to educate you about tea I want to educate you about its production, the advantages and disadvantages. I will write thirty articles in the next two months (one article after every two days). The reason I want to do this is to guide you such that you understand where I come from. When any one responds to me I will not hastate I will simply answer them. Today I am going to start by giving an overview of what tea growing in Uganda is like

Ugandan tea is commonly grown on the slopes of Mount Rwenzori and along the crescent of Lake Victoria areas of Bushenyi, Hoima, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kibaale, Kisoro, Mbarara, Mukono, Mityana, Rukungiri and Wakiso. These areas are consistent with tea growing requirements of a temperate climate with an average precipitation of between 1000mm and 1500mm for not less than 150 days per annum. In the above areas, temperatures range from 200C-250C, an altitude of over 1500m above sea level with rich well drained fertile soils and soil alkalinity levels of not more than PH6.

In Uganda smallholders are defined as those cultivating 8 acres or less of land. Uganda’s Smallholders were estimated to be around 50,000 occupying approximately 12,000Ha and producing around 28 percent of total tea production (Kiwanuka and Ahmed, 2012)

Historically, Uganda’s small holders were organized in four groups with each group owning one factory in Igara, Kayonza, Mpanga and Buhungu. By 2002 groups had grown to 26 associations. The groups were organized around the existing 26 factories in and around western Uganda. Today, the factories are now 32 in number. Bushenyi district has the highest number of households growing about 56 percent of total tea production in Uganda followed by kyenjojo. Both districts are located in the Western part of the country Tea export performance however in the last three years tea growing has almost doubled in the areas of Kigezi.

After Kenya (Kenya is the world’s leading exporter of tea) and Malawi, Uganda is the third largest exporter of tea in Africa. Uganda’s exports, both in value and volume, continue to maintain an upward trend.

Pricing of tea Unlike coffee, there is sold through auction and private deals. In the auction, tea prices are determined by supply and demand, quality and geographical location-highland tea fetch more prices (MAAIF, 2012). Consequently, there is no single price for tea. Every auction determines its own price through a reserve price and a bidding process which varies with quality and quantity.

We must continue to view the processing; Uganda produces mainly black tea processed by smallholder-managed Cut Tear and Curl (CTC) factories. According to NPA (2007) CTC factories are preferred because they guarantee maximum cuppage per unit weight of tea. By 1968, Uganda had four CTC factories established through the Government of Uganda aided small holder scheme projects. After the liberalization of the sector in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Uganda built and rehabilitated a total of 28 factories to handle the expanded tea capacity.

Unlike Kenya, Ugandan tea processing facilities are either unevenly distributed, or are concentrated in one area with many of the potential tea growing areas having no processing facilities. For example, while the tea growing areas of Kabale and Kisoro cover 800 acres of tea with 25 percent of the area undergoing regular plucking, there are no factories near the tea planting zones. Another example of incapacity is by Igara factory, which was designed to handle 30 tonnes of green leaf per day, but, by 2001, the factory was receiving as much as 100 tonnes for processing (MAAIF, 2012). Subsequently, the management of Igara factory had to commission another factory

at Buhweju to handle the extended capacity. But as productivity of the area continues to expand, it is evident that the processing facility will be overwhelmed in the near future. In 2005, MAAIF proposed that Uganda should adopt Kenya’s processing model, where for every 500 Ha of tea, with 1.5 tonnes/Ha productivity, there should exist a single line CTC factory with a capacity to wither and process 750 tonnes of black tea or 3,500 tonnes of green leaf and with an average out-turn of 23.5 percent.

Also, Uganda should explore avenues of growing and processing green tea which is healthier and therefore better priced. Thus, Uganda should look beyond business as usual, or even beyond the. We cant do business as usual we need to look at this business and see what we can have. Do we need to expand it and if yes what are the consequences I will help with what I know. Here I start a journey for the next two months.

 

 

 

YOUTHS OF UGANDA SHOULDNT EMBRACE THE 2016-2021 NRM GOVERNMENT A RESPONSE TO MY FRIEND TUSHABE

 

I write this blog to respond to my brother Edgar Tushabe Muhairwe  for the claims he made in his blog calling on the youth to support the Museveni government for the next 5 years. As President Museveni takes his first steps in his fifth government, the youth of Uganda shouldn’t pay allegiance and attention to the illegitimate Museveni regime.

Tushabe claims “Periodically, the NRM government has prioritized issues of governance according to need and urgency.” This statement itself shows that there are other great component issues like that he calls not urgent and therefore to him the urgent issues have become, Strengthening the Army and ensuring the security of property and person, in Uganda there is no security of people and their propery there is simply the security Museveni and his government that’s why we lose sheikhs and the police chief simply mentions he is overwhelmed, fires have consumed billions of shilling in property in our markets, dometries have been burnt and the reports have taken ages these are not isolated cases as the government factionaries would want to call it. We can mention many times our markets are burnt and police reports are never reported. When he mentions governance i also find our level of democracy not only creeping but dead.

Museveni who can’t even allow a free and fair election in his party can’t be talked as a democrat we simply have a junta in power and we must handle it as that. Opposition parties are handled as rebel groups every state function instead of handling their duties are busy trying to kill the undying decent from the people of Uganda. Recently i found out that looking at Besigye and waving to him happily has become a case the reason he is in Luzira and the same reason his supporters are clobbered everyday they are happy.

There has also been a rant about Infrastructure development which my brother describes as modern, admirable road network and provision of amenities like water and electricity. He however doesn’t tell us the coverage rate of electricity, he doesn’t speak about UMEEME that is steeling Ugandans, he forgets why some of these facilities were sold cheaply by the corrupt regime, he further forgets that some of the roads like Katosi are in the stomachs of some people, he doesn’t mention how much the tax payer has lost on the dams, he forgets about our debt and the cost and quality of the roads constructed in Uganda. This is not only selfish but arogancy “enyonyi Kuzikurira Oburo zitakwesimirane”.

So what he calls deliberate prioritization of issues is stealing and misuses power and I wonder why he still talks about impressive economic growth, human development, which he claims they have achieved in the 30 years with the above flaws. We should therefore see the NRM junta as a set of broken promises that must be done away with.

He again mentions investor confidence and what i am sure about is that the foreign missions in the country are not confident any more here in Uganda because of bad governance i think the confidence has been dwindling and that’s dangerous for a poor economy like Uganda

“For the past 30 years, our economy has grown on an average of 7% per year. This is an impressive result in comparison to other world economies”. He says I am for people and meaningful economic growth that can be seen in the pockets and the well being of the people. Our country is a poor country and the 7% he mentions actually is owned by the same people that have stolen and abused our economy. When the poor become very desperate and loose hope which is likely to happen ultimately they will eat the rich

My brother Tushabe further quotes Museveni’s  article to the press, “The Joy Of Campaigning for the NRM in 2015” the president, who was then the NRM candidate said that the forthcoming 5 years shall be focused on improving livelihoods through the prioritization of livelihood funds like Operation Wealth Creation, the Youth Livelihood Program, the Women Fund, the Micro-finance Fund, and the Innovation Fund.”

I find these claims very good but without commitment for these have been rhetoric and these have been the same  promises made in the last elections. Whether its people or the guns that give him the mandate he has betrayed both because he never fulfils the promises. This how NAADs comes and goes and thats how for one to give a cow to my mother in the village he needs to be carrying a gun. Even with one kilogram of seeds and hoes given to our communities Tushabe believes Uganda can be developed this is self denial!

It’s with the above mindset that I don’t think the youth of Uganda should be interested. But rather they must be interested in standing up and defending their country and our country must be taken back to the constitutional Path. This is what as a generation should be engaged in it can take a year two or even more but I am sure that then history will judge us right. Compared to those who have given up and decided to nurse a dead regime that cant resurrect!