By Vision Reporter
The Vice President, Edward Ssekandi, has called for the transformation of agricultural activities in the country as one way of improving the livelihood of people in rural areas.
He said that agriculture is a key sector in the economy and employs majority of the people in the rural areas saying if well coordinated, it can drastically transform the lives of rural communities and the whole economy in general.
The Vice President, who was speaking at the opening of the Joint Agriculture Sector Annual Review at Munyonyo on Thursday, called upon the leadership of the sector to intensify farmer training, identify agriculture based funding, basic technology and organise farmers in viable groupings.
He told participants at the two-day workshop that Uganda has a comparative advantage in the Agriculture sector in the region and urged technocrats the Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers take advantage of the opportunity by improving their productivity.
He blamed the low productivity of farmers in the country on the low extension services leading to crop failure, poor yields and storage losses which he urged the technocrats to address.
He said that Government has running trade agreements with the European Union, the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the East African Community and urged technocrats to mobilise farmers to make use of such arrangements.
He said that government is implementing the energy master plan which will ensure access to energy to promote value addition and agro processing adding that Government has also embarked on generating electricity in many parts of the country to meet the ever increasing demand.
Sekandi said that in order to enhance agricultural competitiveness, Government allocated additional funds to Agricultural research under National Agricultural Research Organisation and National Advisory Services NAADS to address production, processing and market access constraints.
He urged Ugandans to desist from subdividing their parcels of land to uneconomic size and other activities that continue to degrade the environment.
“You should stop cutting trees indiscriminately. Instead, every Ugandan should plan to plant at least ten trees per year. In this way we shall mitigate the drastic effects of the Climate Change,” Sekandi said.
According to the sector Minister, Tress Bucyanayandi, the two-day workshop is to review the sector progress towards the annual performance targets during the financial year, discuss challenges and provide guidance to future implementation of sector programmes.
The workshop has brought together more than 300 participants including technocrats from Agriculture and line sectors, local Governments, Civil Society, farmer representatives and development partners.