A total of 5,458 farmers in Busoga region have been empowered to improve their agricultural produce. The support funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) was channeled through the agriculture ministry.
According to Willem Heemskerk, an IFAD consultant, the two-year project aimed at increasing profits by farmers, covers the districts of Namutumba, Kaliro and Mayuge.
“The agriculture ministry’s Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) contracted the NGO called Send a Cow to handle this task. Farmers need to be enlightened on doing farming as a business,” Heemskerk stressed.
He made the remarks while touring the IFAD-funded projects in Namutumba and Kaliro districts on Wednesday.
Pamela Ebanyat, programme manager of Send a Cow revealed that Sh570m has so far been injected into the project during the first year of operation.
Robert Kawanguzi, a farmer disclosed that last season, he obtained six tonnes of sunflower from his five acre garden.
“I am grateful to support from the donors since I was trained and given improved seeds to plant. So far I have sold off three tonnes getting sh3m,” Kawanguzi narrated.
Gerald Tayebwa, the Ivukula sub-county agriculture extension worker said the bias is on vegetable seed farmers of sunflower, sim sim and soya bean.
“Our farmers are now reaping millions from sales to local vegetable producers like the Jinja-based Nile Agro and Mayuge oil millers. The cash got is making their livelihood much better,” Tayebwa said.
Wycliff Ibanda, the Kaliro district chairman observed that nowadays farmers have learnt good post-harvest handling techniques like using tarpaulins to dry their produce.
What others say
Hajira Nalubanga, farmer in Bulwama village, Namutumba district
I am happy with the support we got from IFAD. Of late we sell much more as members of Akanabala farmers group.
Cyrus Mbigi, resident of Kaliro town
Farmers are enjoying the fruits of their sweat. It is not like in the past when middle men would pay them peanut at the farms and then carry away the produce to make mammoth profits.
Catherine Baidi, farmer from Ivukula village, Namutumba
The training and monetary support helped us a lot. This is the kind of empowerment every farmer needs nationwide.