The experts note that most farmers in rural parts of Jinja sell food crops while they are still growing in the gardens to buyers who exploit them by paying less money and also getting free labor for harvesting.
Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, Jinja District Production Officer, says his team is in the process of sensitizing farmers not to sell food crops in the gardens, an act which could make rural communities food insecure.
Dr. Kiwemba says farmers are ignorant of how buyers exploit them by paying them less than half of the actual cost of food in the garden because it is done on estimates and speculation.
In 2011, at least 26,100 farmers were registered under the National Agricultural Advisory Services [NAADS] program in Jinja district.
Elizabeth Gwaira, a resident of Walukuba village owns two acres of maize, beans and sweet potatoes which she sold off last month. She was paid an installment of 1,000,000 shillings of the three million that was agreed upon for the entire garden.
George Luanyang, a trader from Southern Sudan, says he has bought off several gardens in Busoga region in order to have certainty of supplying his market in his home country. He says he risks but the business turns out to be profitable upon harvest.
Sarah Kyozira, the chairperson Budondo Farmers Group in Jinja, confirms the act of selling food crops in the garden is on the rise but calls on farmers to stop it.
Daniel Muwanga, Chairman Jinja farmers Forum, says most homes in Butagaya and Budondo sub counties have sold off their crops in the gardens leaving them with no food to eat.
Muwanga says in Jinja alone 8 out of 10 farmers sell their crop gardens before harvest.
In 2011, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO said 15% of the population in Busoga region is food insecure, with the number of absolute food insecure people standing at about 500,000.