A team of four ministers has been appointed to manage the agriculture sector for the next five years. Harvest Money talked to several commercial farmers about their expectations.
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10 years ago .
What farmers expect from their new ministers
A team of four ministers has been appointed to manage the agriculture sector for the next five years. Harvest Money talked to several commercial farmers about their expectations.
By Joshua Kato

A team of four ministers has been appointed to manage the agriculture sector for the next five years. Harvest Money talked to several commercial farmers about their expectations.

Roger Kyeyune Nkunyingi, proprietor of MUVA Farm on Mityana road, dealing in pig and poultry breeding, fish farming and coffee
One of the most important things is to improve extension services. I have been engaged in fish farming for a long time, but most of the time, we do things by guess work, sometimes making costly mistakes. Agriculture financing must also be improved. Access to bank loans should be made easier and farmers should know where to find the loans. The minister should also work on improving labour and professionals in the sector. Many of us ‘import’ expatriates to work on the farm, which is expensive.

Florence Kaweesa, Najjuma Poultry Farm, Bukoto
For the ministers to appreciate our problems, they should be able to visit us as farmers. They should also try to ensure that the cost of farm inputs, especially chicken drugs, is reduced because the high cost makes the poultry keeping business costly. We also need to improve research on chicken breeding. A lot of innovations in poultry breeding are made by individual farmers and not by government researchers.

George William Kibodhe, grows pineapples, maize and passion fruits, Kayunga district
The minister should work at improving technology in the field. For example, there is no reason why we should continue suffering from dry spells, yet we can have irrigation. Desert countries like Israel are able to practice farming all year round. The ministers should promote small scale irrigation schemes. They should also encourage big international farming companies to come to Uganda and engage in food production.

Silas Kamanyiro, a grape farmer, Mbarara
On top of improving marketing, the bureaucracy in the agriculture ministry and other state-owned agriculture organisations should be reduced. Government-initiated programmes should reach those who are supposed to benefit from them. The ministers should also work to improve marketing of produce so that farmers are motivated to produce more.

Godfrey Walusimbi, a producer of chicken incubators, Butenga Farmers, Kira
The minister should put emphasis on helping us get modern equipment and the labour to run it. Whenever we expand without upgrading our equipment, we get problems, hence the slow pace of expansion. Access to loans should also be improved.

Abdulkarim Karama, a pineapple farmer, bee-keeper and honey processor, Kikyusa, Luweero district
I expect the new ministers to promote irrigation as a way of increasing production and coping with the challenges of climate change.
They should convince big international companies to import irrigation equipment that small-scale farmers in the village can afford.

Abdul Magid Ndase, a coffee and spice farmer, Lugazi Buikwe district
The new agriculture ministers should focus on irrigation. Many times NAADS gives us seeds when the rainy season is ending. If the farmers had irrigation equipment, they would irrigate the crops. The ministry should also get involved in exporting high value crops to encourage farmers to produce them. Otherwise, farmers will abandon them like they did vanilla and aloe vera.

Ernest Bongole, a mango farmer and plant (banana and coffee) nursery manager, Bukasa, Kimenyedde sub-county, Mukono district
The newly-appointed agriculture ministers should focus on three things; food security, market for farmers’ produce and environment protection. Many families these days sleep without a meal. Food prices are too high. Tree planting should be promoted so that the environment is restored.

Edward Bakka, a commercial plantain banana (Gonja) farmer, Buwama in Mpigi district
I personally know the two new ministers Tress Buchanayande and Prof. Zerubabel Nyiira. They have been working with farmers. But now they are coming to work with organisations like NAADS which have failed to understand farmers. They should now encourage farmers to take over leadership of organisations like Uganda National Farmers Federation. Whatever is discussed should be implemented using the bottom-up approach.

Muhammad Mukisa, an Irish potato farmer, Fort Portal
The agriculture minister should set standard prices for the various agriculture products. We are sometimes cheated by Kampala buyers, especially because the prices keep changing.

Muhammed Luzze, a ginger farmer, Mpigi
The agriculture minister should closely monitor the various agro inputs being sold in Container Village, especially the seeds and chemicals because a few months ago, I lost about sh100,000 when I was sold fake pesticides.

Abdul Ssekabira, Kalagala, Luwero
A new cassava disease has destroyed all our cassava in Kalagala. Now we have abandoned cassava farming because we fear further losses. The new agriculture minister should support the National Agricultural Research Organisation to come up with cassava varieties that are resistant to this new disease.

George Kavuma, a pepper farmer, Mpigi
We are struggling to sell off our products, especially pepper. I was forced to quit pepper farming at the beginning of this year after losing about two tonnes due to low demand. The agriculture ministry should create warehouses in various districts where farmers can collect their produce, where the ministry can collectively help sell off the produce before it goes bad.
Send your questions to harvestingmoney@newvision.co.ug

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