By: Ismael Kasooha
The Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has revealed that the government will support farmers to get quality breeds to improve production and productivity in the country.
“As government we shall support individual farmers who are playing a great role in improving animal breeds in the country so as to meet the country’s demands to feed both local and international markets,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja, who was accompanied by several Ministers, spent three days in the Districts of Mityana, Mubende, Kassanda, Kyankwanzi and Kiboga to rally farmers to adopt modern ways of farming to deal with the changing weather patterns and also respond to the call of mobilizing farmers on production, productivity and profitability as advised by President Yoweri Museveni in the six policy guidelines.
Nabbanja was Sunday inspecting Bukinda Ranch that belongs to James Mansa, a prominent farmer and businessman in Bukwiri Town Council, Kyankwanzi District. She said that the President made six policy proposals to help farmers and to increase production, productivity and profitability.
These policy proposals are Production, multiplication, distribution, and certification of seeds and stocking materials, Disease control, Agricultural mechanisation and irrigation, farmer education and mobilisation in addition to Partnerships with big land owners and Interventions in the fisheries sector.
The Premier said that President Yoweri Museveni had instructed that the research arms of the government such as NARO and NAGRIC are given funds to produce products that can help farmers improve production.
Nabbanja said that the government had decided to also partner with the private sector players to achieve its goal of socio-economic transformation. “When we get such an enterprising farmer like Bukinda Ranch we shall partner with them so that the other farmers can also benefit from such farms,” said Nabbanja.
Nabbanja said that the government had instructed the extension staff to offer free services to the livestock farmers on their farms because these can act as demonstrations to others in the country to ensure there was improved production to meet the local and international market.
The State Minister for Agriculture Maj. (Rtd) Bwino Kyakulaga said that partnership with the private sector would help reduce the cost of acquisition of modern breeds in the country. “It’s very expensive for a farmer to acquire such high quality breeds from South Africa and other countries but when one big farmer offers to partner with us as government then we must support them,” said Kyakulaga.
He said that acquiring a Red Karahari goat from South Africa can cost between shs.7-8m which cannot be afforded by majority of farmers in the country but when big farmers import them then the government will enter into partnership with them for multiplication of such breeds.
Dr. Tomasi Kabugo, the Kyankwanzi District Veterinary Officer said that the large scale farmers were helping the government to offer services that would have been very expensive to get from abroad.
Kabugo said that they were working closely with Bukinda Ranch so that the other farmers in the district could also benefit from the high quality breeds.
“We are offering technical support to Bukinda Ranch so that they multiply the breeds and our local farmers can also get improved breeds at lesser costs,” said Kabugo.
Ministers’ input during the agricultural expos
The Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Judith Nabakooba assured the people in all the Districts visited that the government would not allow any evictions in the country because they affect agricultural production.
While in Kyankwazi, Nabakooba said that the government had already agreed with the widow of Late Aronda Nyakairima in Ntweetwe area to pay her using the land fund so that the occupants of the land were safe.
“Nobody will evict you from your Bibanja because the President has directed that we pay off the landlord to allow the occupants to engage in production,” said Nabakooba.
She assured all people that the government had put in place stringent measures to stop illegal evictions of people from their Bibanja.
Aisha Ssekindi, the State Minister for Water told farmers in all the venues that the government was shifting from availing only water for domestic use to considering the provision of both water for production and domestic use.
“We want all water provision in the country to have an element of water for production and we are moving from boreholes to tap water that can serve both purposes,” said Ssekindi.
The State Minister for Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President Beatrice Akello said that the government was more interested in value for money in all its undertakings. She appealed to the public to be on the lookout for all government programmes to ensure that the taxpayers’ money was put to right use.
“You the public must help us as a government to monitor the works on all government projects and programmes if we are to achieve our intended goal of socio-economic transformation,” said Akello.
Mary Grace Mugasa, the State Minister for Public Service asked the people to report anybody that was selling jobs in Districts.
“The jobs are supposed to be given out on merit and appeal to you to report any official found selling jobs to unsuspecting members of the public. They are tarnishing the image of government,” said Mugasa.
While at Kiboga District Agricultural Expo, Nabbanja said that the government was prioritizing agriculture promotion because it employs over 60% of the people in Uganda.
“The president said that if the country is to move forward, we have to prioritize the agricultural sector because the majority of Ugandans derive their livelihoods from farming,” said Nabbanja.
During the expos, extension staff who had no motorcycles were given Brand New Bajaj motorcycles to fill the gap and were asked to ensure that they were available on call to help the farmers.
A total of 25 motorcycles were distributed by the Office of the Prime Minister.
The farmer education, mobilisation, value addition and service delivery campaign started on the 18th August this year in the Districts of Mityana, Mubende, Kasanda, Kiboga and Kyankwanzi ended on Sunday. They were organised by the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
The agri-business expos brought together small-holder farmers, large-scale farmers, farmer associations, agricultural researchers, and agri-business companies to exchange ideas on how best to improve production, productivity and profitability.
The agricultural expos ran under the theme “Farmer Mobilisation, education, value addition and profitability campaign’” as advised by H.E the president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The premier said that after greater Mubende, she would shift to the Districts of Luwero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke to take the president’s message to the grassroots.