The government of Uganda has prioritized agriculture transformation as one of the ways to get Ugandans out of poverty.
In recent years, the government has given out tractors to farmers across the country and constructed several factories, for example, the Soroti Fruit factory and the Banana factory in Bushenyi to add value to produce.
According to Pius Wakabi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) this will be done through increased research for better technologies, improved mechanization of farms, and value addition.
“Our priority is to see as many farmers as possible join the money economy by improving agricultural productivity, improving post-harvest handling and storage of agricultural products, and increasing market access,” Wakabi said.
Irrigation Water Dam In Arapai.
Embrace the expo
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has asked all Ugandans to embrace the 2021 Harvest Money expo. The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) are one of the sponsors of the 2021 Harvest Money Expo.
“The Harvest Money Expo is one of the major avenues through which farmers and Agri input dealers meet,” Pius Wakabi, the Permanent Secretary MAAIF said.
The expo is organized by Vision Group with sponsorship from the Embassy of the Netherlands, Engineering Solutions, Champrisa International, SR Afro Chicks, Musubi farm, FAMUNERA, and Davis and Shirtliff. The expo kicks off tomorrow, April 5th at exactly 9 am.
“We will be able to highlight the opportunities within MAAIF for our respective stakeholders. We invite you to be a part of the knowledge sharing experience to become a better farmer because as it is said, with each day comes an opportunity,” Wakabi said.
Wakabi said that the importance of agriculture to Uganda is huge. The agriculture sector employs about 70percent of the workforce. It also provides livelihood to at least 36 million Ugandans, in addition to contributing 25percet of GDP.
Wakabi pointed out that for the next five years, the government has selected six key interventions that are geared towards developing the sector from a largely subsistence practice where farmers produce mainly for their stomachs, to a commercial level where most farmers join the ‘money bracket’. “Under Vision 2040, the government is implementing six-5year development plans guaranteed to deliver the country’s social-economic transformation,” Wakabi says.
He pointed out that the NDP3 has a target of reducing the current 68percent to 55percent in the five years. NDP3 has five development objectives that meet the purpose of accelerating the growth of the economy, transforming the lives of the people, and strengthening the country’s regional and international competitiveness.
“We want to see a marked increase in postharvest handling, for example, we want to see an increase in mechanization on the farm, we want to see an improvement in marketing,” Wakabi said.
He asked farmers to take the first planting season seriously. “But as you plant, make sure that you use the best seeds available. To get genuine seeds, go to only those outlets that are certified to sell seeds,” he said. He advised farmers that because it is difficult to identify fake or genuine seeds using the bare eye, they should consult the area extension officers. He also advised farmers to take the chance of the current rainy season to harvest water for use during the dry season.
“Irrigation is an important component of the government’s strategic interventions to improve food production. The government has constructed water dams in places like Teso to tap into the water that flows from the mountainous areas of Karamoja, however even individual farmers at home can harvest this water,” Wakabi advised. The government has also set up small-scale irrigation centres across the country to help small-scale farmers practice all-year-round farming.