By Tom Gwebayanga
The Judges of The Vision Group’s Best Farmers competition 2023, last week wound up the inspection and assessment of the 58 shortlisted Farmers in North East and Eastern regions.
Joseph Byaruhanga and Augustine Mwendya, two of the judges spent over two weeks inspecting the shortlisted farmers in Eastern Uganda, out of the hundreds who were profiled in the Vision Group’s platforms.
The duo joined other Judges from Northern, Western, Central and West Nile regions to select the ten (10) Best farmers who will be announced on 14th December 2023.
During the interactions, Byaruhanga advised that people should not venture into farming because of the Farmers’ competition to win the sponsored trip to The Netherlands, but do farming for their own benefit as business.
“People should not engage in farming because of the competition, but move out of the box and take their farms to heights and generate income for their own benefit and the community,” Byaruhanga, the Agricultural specialist, said.
While touring the farms in the districts of Mbale, Iganga, Jinja and Kamuli districts, the Judges noted that much as people have embraced farming, they need to upgrade in the bid to compete nationally.
Observing that rural farms are badly managed, featuring the owners being ignorant of new technologies, hiring inexperienced workers and irregular attendance at the farms, the judges urged the farmers to immigrate from obsolete to modern farming, backed by innovations and practices.
VALUE ADDITION ON MILK, FISH PONDS IMPRESS JUDGES
In Kamuli district, the Judges were impressed by Stephen Kakulagira, who adds value to milk by making yoghurt, having ben empowered by the Dutch experts, who trained him on the applied technologies.
Kakulagira processes 60-90 liters of “chosen yoghurt” per day, turning him into the biggest processor supplier in Kamuli town, orphanages/ kids’ centers, Buyende and Kaliro districts.
Kakulagira was inspired and trained by Nieke Westrike, a Dutch Dairy specialist who opened the formers minds and doors for the business that has thrived seven years now, and has no regrets.
Denis Tumwebaze, an urban farmer and proprietor of Kamuli Urban Mixed Farm in Kamuli town, also impressed the Judges with the way he rear pigs in his the 60×100 wall- fenced residence in Kabulistan zone.
Due to limited space, Tumwebaze established an annex in Buwanume cell, where he rears 50 combo rough pigs which he slaughters in his “Smile pork” outlet in Kamuli Town.
He also dug 4 fish ponds in Buwanume, which fetch sh.30m per year and the multiplication unit for maggots, which he uses to feed fish and the pigs.
The Best Farmers competition which has run over 8 years now is sponsored by The Netherlands Embassy, DFCU Bank, the koudjis Farm feeds, KLM Airlines among other Companies.
In the process, ten best farmers are selected every year, before going for the sponsored trip to The Netherlands farms to learn how the Dutch run their vast farms which are backed by modern technologies
The competition aims at improving farming standards in Uganda by empowering farmers with knowledge, modern technologies and machinery and turn farming into a lucrative and interesting venture.
Ten best farmers are selected every year, before going for the sponsored trip to The Netherlands farms to learn how the Dutch manage their farms, before putting what they saw and learnt in practice at home.