By Fred Turyakira
An expert has advised farmers to embrace ‘smart agriculture’ to mitigate against climate change and reduce on risk of making losses.
Prof. Alex Ariho, the Director General of Excel Hort Consult Agribusiness incubator (EHCAI) who doubles as the CEO of African Agribusiness incubation a network based in Ghana, said that it is possible for the country and Ugandans to address issues of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity in the context of the Government of Uganda’s new drive Parish Development Modal (PDM) by tackling the poverty of the mind, noting that most people are still stuck in using traditional methods.
“The rate at which we are producing in bed, is not the same way the land is producing and increasing. We need to think about how we maximize the little land that we have, we need to think about the market and look at what is going to be marketable and you start with that product. We also need to change the technologies, the way you do things, for instance here at EHCAI, we have small land but we are able to do urban farming that includes fish farming in a hilly place,” He said.
Ariho adds that “Farmers need to be innovative in land management and water harvest technologies to improve on farming and productivity. We need to train them on urban farming and other small innovations to make them survive. They need to look after to the enterprise very well in terms of paying attention to detail, using appropriate technology and management to feed a particular market.”
He explains that EHCAI partners with Universities, Farm institutes and other institutions to train students, the youth in communities on best farming practices, technology and market as well as talent and skill development. They get hands on training, give them resources and graduate after six months of training at the farm.
Small land use and better farming management
Prof. Ariho advises that people have wasted space in their homes in the name of compound but they can use it well to tap money by practicing backyard farming.
“We are promoting tree gardening called food forest modal, because we want to conserve the environment and make sure that there is food security. You can grow vegetables in the compound and get money. You can use one stone to kill two birds by planting vegetables in vessels placed on the tree stem and also get a shed (Agri tourism). We need to make sure that we change the way we do thing because things have changed,” He adds
Prof. Ariho advises the training of people especially the young generation on the production Calendars, saying people shouldn’t plant the same day, harvesting same day and deliver same day. What will they do with the same product?
“We are now training the youth on formation of cluster groups based on the market in the same enterprise but planning their production staggered along the year.
Farmers can get quick wins from fresh matooke by adding value , saying they also have trained farmers on how to make wine process juice, Tonto (local brew) from banana, makes textiles, shoes lamp holders, ornaments from banana fibre and stems. We also get Vinegar, charcoal briquettes, liquid fertilizer, animal feeds, banana cookies among others.