By Taddeo Bwambale
Ten Ugandan farmers are to win a fully-paid trip to the Netherlands, courtesy of a competition launched by Vision Group to identify the best farmers in the country.
The competition named ‘Uganda’s Best Farmers’ is a partnership between Dfcu Bank, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Vision Group.
The ten best farmers will be chosen on the basis of their innovation, employment creation, social impact and commercial orientation.
Unveiling the award at Vision Group’s head offices, Vision Group’s CEO, Robert Kabushenga said the competition was aimed at making agriculture a prestigious occupation.
“Agriculture employs 80% of Ugandans. It is the only job where you do not need an application or specific qualifications. This competition will make agriculture a prestigious again,” he stated.
He noted that Uganda, using its comparative advantage of a conducive climate can feed the world if farmers have the right information and motivation to produce.
The competition will run on all Vision Group’s platforms including newspapers, TV, Radio, online, SMS and social media.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the Netherlands Embassy in Uganda, Ambassador Hans Peter Van der Woude disclosed that the farmers would interact with successful Dutch farmers.
Netherlands is second largest exporter of agricultural produce in the world, which offers the visiting farmers a chance to learn value addition processes, the envoy quipped.
Among key agricultural areas where Netherlands has established a global edge include horticulture, dairy, piggery and production of quality seeds.
Arnold Tijdens, DFCU’s Head of Agribusiness said the three finalists will get funding assistance from the bank to acquire equipment needed to boost their farming activities.
The competition will run for nine months starting January 2014 and the best farmers will be announced in October. Both small and big farmers are encouraged to participate.
The competition is open to Ugandans whose economic activity is within Ugandan, but people living in the diaspora can also nominate candidates.
Profiles of candidates will be published on all Vision Group’s platforms, after which a distinguished panel of experts will select outstanding farmers from the entries.
The farmers’ prize is the first nation-wide farmers’ competition established by a media house to raise the profile of agriculture.
Vision Group’s Harvest Money, a weekly pull-out on farming published in the New Vision is one of the platforms for the competition.