By Charles Kakamwa
The 22nd source of the Nile National Agricultural and Trade Show kicked off on Monday with over 200 exhibitors taking part in the annual event.
The fair organised by Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE), under the theme: ‘Take it to the farmer: Family farming for agricultural revolution in Uganda’ will close on Sunday July 13, 2014.
The show board chairman, Charles Byabakama disclosed that apart from local exhibitors, many came from South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Rwanda, Burundi and some from countries like Germany were expected.
It will officially be opened on Wednesday by a representative from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) while President Yoweri Museveni is expected to visit the show on Friday.
During his visit, the president will hand prizes to the best performing farmers and students who participated in an essay writing competition, Captain Esau Tisasira the UNFFE vice president said.
Tisasira said Gen. Salim Saleh is among dignitaries expected to visit the show but explained that the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi who had been expected to preside over the opening ceremony could not make it.
“We received communication that the Kabaka will not be available on the day (Wednesday) that we had invited him to preside over opening ceremony,” he said.
Tisasira also dismissed as unfounded rumours that there was a group of people that had planned to demonstrate in Jinja had Kabaka Mutebi showed up at the agricultural show.
Sections of the media on Tuesday claimed that angry Busoga royalists had vowed to stage a demonstration, accusing the show organisers of inviting the Buganda king while sidelining the Busoga cultural institution.
“Since 1993 when this show begun, we have had a good working relationship with Busoga, Buganda and all other cultural institutions. The kings are key partners and have been instrumental in promoting agriculture,” Tisasira said.
He added that there was nothing wrong in inviting leaders from outside Busoga since the agricultural show is a national event.
UNFFE Secretary General, Sunday Emmanuel expressed displeasure over a decision by government to tax agricultural input dealers such as seed companies.
He noted that the result will be a hike in the seed prices and that farmers using improved seeds will most likely drop from the current 7%.
Some of the exhibitors are in areas of agro technology innovations, research institutions, agro-chemical companies, feeds and seed companies, farm equipment and machinery firms, private sector, educational institutions, government departments and ministries.
There are also value addition products, energy saving systems, and trade related products.
Entrance fee will be sh 2,000 for students, sh 4,000 adults and sh 10,000 for VIPs.