NYAGATARE – Livestock farmers in the Eastern Province have rejected the use of weighing scales in cattle markets and have resorted to the old practice of haggling.
The farmers claim that the weighing scales are cheating them.
The Ministry of Agriculture under PADEBEL project initiated the system of using these weighing machines in selling cattle at different markets in the province in 2005.
There are currently 18 cattle markets in the province.
However, according to different farmers who talked to The New Times, some of the weighing machines were faulty leading to what they termed as misleading figures.
“Ever since the ministry introduced this system of weighing in 2005 we have not been fully confident about its capability to give us accurate measurements of our cattle’s weights,” James Karamuzi a farmer in Kamagiri cell said.
“Some times you could bring a cow estimated at about 900 kilograms and it weighs just 600 kilograms on the weighing scale. This was a great disappointment to farmers.
Unlike the previous system we are comfortable with bargaining method as the cattle price is dependent on the current supply and demand prices of meat and other related products,” he said.
In an interview, Frank Kalisa, the controller of cattle markets and livestock diseases in the Eastern Province, acknowledged receiving complaints from farmers.
He however, explained that the weighing machines were in line with modern practises although there were complaints since their introduction.
“After PADEBEL constructed new modern markets in late 2004, farmers started objecting to the use of weighing machines. They claimed that weighing machines introduced were cheating them…we are looking for appropriate ways of solving this issue,” he said.