By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
Grasshopper harvesters around the country especially those operating in Masaka Town, locally known as “Abaseene,” are facing unprecedented challenges this year as the eagerly anticipated grasshopper season, a longstanding tradition since 1980, has been delayed, causing significant financial losses and anxiety among the community.
Kariimu Ziwa, the General Secretary of the Masaka Grasshopper Harvesters, expressed the collective frustration stating that they are involved in harvesting grasshoppers and are encountering losses since they invested heavily in electricity fees for the season.
“Two weeks have passed, but there are no grasshoppers in the market. We fear counting significant financial setbacks,” Says Karimu Ziwa
Namaganda Recheal, a vendor at the grasshopper market in Nyendo town, shared the ripple effects of the delayed season, revealing that due to the prolonged wait for grasshoppers, many have been forced to diversify into alternative businesses such as baking chapati and roasting chicken to sustain their livelihoods.
Taremwa Enock, a grasshopper harvester in Mukudde Masaka, now faces the grim possibility of losing his properties to money lenders who borrowed him money to invest in grasshopper harvesting, but with the delayed season, he has no means to repay the loan.
“If this persists, I might have no option but to let my properties be taken by moneylenders.” He laments,
The grasshoppers available in the market are now scarce and come at a steep price. A cup of grasshoppers, which would typically be affordable, is now being sold at an exorbitant Ugandan Shilling 30,000, leaving consumers dismayed.
Rose Nakyejwe, the Masaka District Environment Officer, attributes the delayed grasshopper season to environmental degradation caused by human activities
“Grasshoppers and other insects may become a myth if people continue to encroach on the habitats of these essential creatures.” She warns
While many people in Kampala city blame Masaka grasshopper harvesters for concealing grasshoppers and keeping them out of the market, the people in this business in the Masaka community are grappling with this unforeseen crisis, which has now had an economic impact on the entire community in Masaka.