Hajji Quraish Katongole, the Chairperson of Old Masaka Basenene Association
Limited, the umbrella body of grasshopper trappers in the Masaka region, says that they have lost over Shillings 85million because of the grasshopper scarcity.
Grasshopper catchers in the Greater
Masaka region are counting huge losses because of the scarcity
of their prized insects. The grasshopper catching
season usually starts from November and runs to December.
However, over two weeks
later, the farmers say that they have only managed to catch a few grasshoppers
while some areas have nothing at all. The grasshopper catchers blame the problem on climate change and persistent power
outages. This was the same
situation last season, which left the trappers and traders complaining due to
lack of business.
Hajji Quraish Katongole, the Chairperson of Old
Masaka Basenene Association Limited, the umbrella body of grasshopper trappers
in the Masaka region, says that they have lost over Shillings 85million
because of the grasshopper scarcity.
He says that they usually generate an
average of over Shillings 5 million on a normal day from one trapping center using more than
five drums. He explains
that the dry season scared several grasshopper trappers due to climate change effects, adding that many of them had
declined to invest in the season.
Katongole says that four of
their members committed suicide last season after failing to service the loans they secured from banks and
individuals to invest in the grasshopper
//Cue in: “Season eno……………..
180 out of more than 500 members
are currently trapping grasshoppers
amidst unsatisfactory catch. Katongole explains
that they have so far paid more than
Shillings 86M to
UMEME to enable them to tap power for catching
the edible insects.
He reveals that they
usually pay between Shillings 200M and Shillings
300M to UMEME every two months of the season. UMEME charges
each bulb Shillings 350,000
yet the businessmen use between 3 and 5 or more bulbs at
“Abali mu register……………..
are also facing consistent load-shedding. However, the power distributors, UMEME
does not compensate them
for the missed days. According to Katongole, UMEME’s operation dubbed “Komboa”, which combats
illegal connections has destabilized
their businesses yet they have agreements with the company.
to UMEME to be considerate and reduce the charges to favor the grasshopper trappers now that the season
has caused a loss.
the trappers are facing the same plight and cursing the season. Baada
Kiibi, a prominent grasshopper trapper in Kalisizo
town council, says that he has made losses since the season started.
Fatiya Nalukenge, another trapper in Kalisizo
explains that she employs more than five people
every season and has to pay them
even when they do not trap anything.
Isaac Katewanga, the UMEME Regional Manager-Masaka says that they met the grasshopper trappers and agreed on the electricity tariffs
which would favor their season
for two months. He explains that they would charge one bulb above Shillings 400,000 but they have since reduced the charge to Shillings 350,000.
Eng. Joseph Katende, from UMEME-Masaka attributed the persistent blackout in the region to the vandalism of their installations.
//Cue in: “Tuyina enkolagana……
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Programme, grasshoppers have high
protein than beef or fish. Its
nutrients can help to fight malnutrition.
The grasshopper season is a source of livelihood for many people as it generates a lot of
revenue for the government in just two months.