trueBy Katamu Eddy Nedinani
I read with extreme joy your article that appeared on page 34 of New Vision on Tuesday August 26th 2014 reflecting cabinet approval of sh50bn agricultural funds, which pointed to The National Development Plan that identifies agriculture as a vital contributory growth sector capable of reducing poverty and stimulating economic growth.
However priority interventions need to focus more on increasing production and productivity, agro-processing and increase enterprise efficiency.
As priority is given to provision of planting materials before the usual midway into the planting season, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries need to also enter into long term framework contracts with certified seed producers and other expert in seed quality assessment to train farmers and equip them with skills of identifying fake products ranging from pesticides to quality seeds, what they have to grow, how and when to grow plus the probable markets, which will enable increased household income and reduce poverty amongst farmers.
It’s also good news to read that the ministry plans to distribute 2.161 million Tilapia fingerlings, 1.44 millions of catfish and over 300000 of mirror fish, however government needs to invest more into skills building to famers by availing seasoned training and entering into contracts with registered breeders for the multiplication of improved breeds of fish, livestock and poultry plus restocking of breeding centers like the Aswa ranch and Waligo centre to be used as multiplication points for cattle, which can be given in turns to other famers especially youth and women who are willing to fully establish roots into agriculture.
There is need for government to plan for possible water reservation that may arise in some places of the country where water remains a major constraint to agricultural production especially n the eastern part where the rainy season remains short and unstable in certain seasons.
Officials ought to plan and work closely with the Ministry of Water and Environment to provide irrigation and water harvesting technologies in collaboration with the private sector.
Government ought to continue with the ongoing efforts to provide affordable finance to enable farmers acquire necessary infrastructure to promote transformation to commercial agricultural production, especially the construction of warehouses and silos and the rehabilitation of small-scale warehouses across the country at sub-country level to improve storage, which has remained a major constraint leading to the destabilization of food and other commodity supplies to the market.
Now that the UPDF is taking over monitoring of National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) cabinet need to strive and increase funding of the body so as to increase the commercialization of improved seeds and other planting materials.
Seed and agro-genetic propagation companies need to be contracted within a long term framework to multiply improved seeds and planting materials, which will be delivered in time for planting during successive seasons over the forthcoming seasons.
The writer is a journalist
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Modern agriculture key to empowerment