Agriculture is the main occupation of the population with 82% producing at subsistence level and the rest on semi commercial agriculture. The main crops grown are: maize, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, tobacco, Arabica Coffee, Fruits (passion fruits and apples), Peas, Sorghum, Finger millet, Wheat and vegetables. The main cash crops are Barley, Sorghum, Tobacco, Vegetables, Beans, Peas, Irish potatoes and passion fruits. Mushrooms, temperate fruits (apples) and Tea are being developed as cash crops.
There are two agro ecological zones based on altitude, temperatures, rainfall, soil types, and vegetation cover.
The Eastern zone
This is an area of medium altitude; high rainfall, U- shaped valleys, loam peat soils and cool temperatures. The soils on the hilltops and sides are deep and cultivation is carried out but, with terraces along the contours. There is dairy farming in the flat valley bottoms and tree planting on hilltops and valley bottoms. The area comprises of the Sub-counties of Hamurwa, Bubare, Nyamweru and Hamurwa Town Council.
The Western zone
This is an area of high altitude, cold temperatures, high rainfall, steep hills and V- shaped valleys. There are fertile volcanic soils. Cultivation on the steep slopes is done with terraces across the contours. However, fragile hillsides are prone to erosion and landslides. It borders with the protected forests of Bwindi, Echuya and Mafuga which influences the rains and temperatures. This zone consists of the Sub-counties of Muko, Ikumba, Ruhija, and Bufundi.
4.2 Crop sector
The District climate favors mainly the growth of highland food crops such as maize, Irish potato, sweet potato, sorghum, beans, and finger millet. Others, which are grown on small scale by households, include; tobacco, Arabica coffee, temperate fruits (apples), peas, wheat, barley and vegetables (cabbages, tomatoes, cauliflowers, carrots, onions, beet root, spinach, collards and green pepper). In the recent past, through Government Strategic Intervention, tea production has been prioritized as a commercial plantation crop to improve incomes, environmental integrity and create employment. To date, an estimated 1,100 acres have been planted with tea and there are prospects for further expansion, with Government commitment and funding. Marginal land, which accounts 15.9 square kilometer of the District total area, is being encroached on by the population and being utilized for tree planting, especially with eucalyptus trees for fuel, construction and other purposes.
The production figures show that yields under farmer practices are low but with capacity to increase with use of the available improved production packages. The improved production packages include use of
Manure and inorganic fertilizer to restore soil fertility,
Soil and water conservation measures (including irrigation and control of soil erosion).
High yielding, high value, quick maturing and clean seed,
Pest and disease control measures,
Appropriate post harvest handling
Value addition and agro processing.
Use of efficient working tools and labour saving technologies.
Improved agro-business skills and attitude.
The District is normally food self-sufficient at harvest time but gradually suffers shortfalls as the stocks diminish into another cropping season. In times of prolonged dry periods the District experiences food shortage. Many crop enterprises are grown in the District with varying acreages. There are also relatively new crops now being taken up by farmers. These include temperate fruit trees (apples, pears, peaches) grafted Avocados, passion fruits, Grapes, Mushrooms and Flowers, Tea, Artemisia.
||Estimated area Planted
|Irish potatoes (ware)
|Irish potatoes (seed)
|| Crop enterprise
||Planted area (ha) - estimated
||Est. number of households involved
||Pdn. Ton per ha (average)
|| Estimated yield (tons)
|| Irish potatoes
The livestock sector is dominated by small numbers of stock per household, that include, cattle (Indigenous and improved), goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits and pigs that often graze on free range. In some parts of the District, there are very good pastures and favorable climatic conditions for production of good exotic dairy cattle breeds. Rubanda contributes dairy cattle breeding stocks for many other District s in Uganda. In absence of a milk collecting/ processing centre, most of the milk produced in the district is sold raw to consumers in Kabale town and a small percentage is consumed locally in rural areas. The livestock enterprises have potential of increasing productivity under improved management, good prices of milk and milk products in place.
Households rearing livestock are 71.3% in the District with average land holding of size of 0.9 ha of which 101,900 are heads of cattle, 6.7% are exotic breeds and indigenous one are 95.1%. The numbers with goats were; 436,000, those with sheep are 250,000; pigs are 13,200 donkeys are 29 chicken totaled 355,000 and rabbits totaled to 67,000 and zero grazing accounts for 0.8%
Most of the households graze their cattle by use of free range system of grazing, however some progressing farmers use controlled grazing and other zero grazing systems.
The major poultry kept by households totals to only 180,000 of which those with ducks are 320, turkey are 80, guinea fowls, are 21 and geese are 10. The least kept birds are Guinea fowls and Geese. Consumption of poultry and eggs is mainly in urban areas of the District . Poultry production is being boosted by introduction of a hatchery, exotic broiler, layer chicks and Kuroiler hens to the youth groups in the District
Fish farming is a relatively new enterprise but steadily picking up. There is a lot of potential for fish farming especially near the wetlands and stream flows. To date there more than 40 fish ponds out of which only 12% are fully stocked. There are no fish breeding centers in the District . At stocking density of 3 fish per sq meter a farmer can earn up to 24 million per year from one acre. Lake Bunyonyi is the only water body in the District but due to limited breeding areas, its productivity to yield fish to feed the population is limited, however it has big potential for cage farming. There is need to exploit fish production on the lake through cage farming.
The adoption of improved hives has increased honey yields. An improved hive yields average 20kg per year compared to the local hive which yields 10kgs of honey per year. Apiculture is becoming important owing to the increasing use of the improved hives and the opportunity for value addition to honey through processing. The FAO food security project supported one processing unit in Ikumba Sub County.