The minister advised farmers to produce quantity and quality food to eradicate poverty
The state minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Kwiyucwiny, attributed high poverty and famine prevalence in northern Uganda to the poor attitude towards farming.
“Many farmers have had access to short courses in agriculture, but it has not helped and change their attitudes to increase agricultural production and food security”, Kwiyucwiny said.
Kwiyucwiny made the remarks during a stakeholders’ consultative meeting at Churchill Court Hotel in Gulu to discuss a draft curriculum of diversifying cropping system in northern Uganda developed by the Institute of Agricultural Knowledge for Practice (IAK).
IAK was started in 2016 by the former vice-chancellor of Gulu University, Prof. Jack Pen Mogi to address the high level of unemployment among youth in rural areas as well as poverty and increase food security.
“Poverty is man-made, nobody is born poor. This region is blessed with fertile vast land, but people remain poor because they like selling land rather than using it, conflicting over land, yet they have even failed to dig around their homestead,” Kwiyucwiny noted.
The minister said many people have visited President Yoweri Museveni and seen model farmers, but when they return, they do nothing beyond praising the model farmers.
She advised farmers to produce quantity and quality food to eradicate poverty and make agriculture a business to change their lives.
“Please farmers start growing valuable food crops like matooke (plantain), onion, cabbage, watermelon, Irish potatoes, tomatoes and avocado which require a little piece of land, but with high yield,” she said.
Kwiyucwiny said most of these valuable foods with high prices on the market are being brought from Mbale and Western Uganda.
She said farmers in northern Uganda are not even exporting a kilo of farm produce to South Sudan despite bordering it, yet farmers from other regions are making money from exporting food produce to South Sudan.
Kwiyucwiny said post-harvest handling is still very poor in the region and advised farmers to pick their produce when mature enough and so that it has high quality.
She explained that poor storage of perishable foodstuffs like tomatoes and avocados especially in Zombo district is making farmers lose out due to poor storage.