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Embrace Oil Seeds Project, Bunyoro Farmers Urged

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Wilson Asiimwe

Farmers in Bunyoro sub-region have been asked to embrace the national oil seeds project, which is aimed at supporting the oil value chain development.

State minister for animal industry Bright Rwamirama has urged Bunyoro farmers to support the national oil seed project, aiming to reduce the country’s importation of edible oils and promote sunflower, simsim and groundnut production.

Vegetable oil, Rwamirama said, is strategically important to Uganda’s economy since it provides a means of subsistence for several value chain participants.

However, the sub-sector is limited by several constraints, necessitating focused actions.

“The importation of vegetable oils costs $300m, which is a significant amount of money. But if we increase the output of oil seeds, this will imply that vegetable oils will be produced locally, with the excess being exported to increase income,” he said.

Rwamirama said Uganda has over 112 edible oil production factories and that all of them are producing at a low capacity.

“The factories are operating below capacity due to a lack of raw materials. The country relies on imported vegetable oil for 60% of the market supply. The oilseed cake industry is underdeveloped, with much-imported animal feed coming from Brazil,” he said. Chris Gumisiriza, the national oil seeds project manager, said the project seeks to improve a total of 2,500km of access roads in the country.

“We know most farmers have challenges with roads, which makes it hard to transport produce. We are working on the roads and each district will have 30km worked on. This will enable accessibility,” Gumisiriza said.

Cosmas Byaruhanga, the chairperson of Masindi district, said they are optimistic that the project will help address the challenges of bad community access roads.

“Our farmers have a problem accessing markets to sell their produce. Sometimes they invest a lot of money to access markets and they end up with losses,” Byaruhanga said.

The seven-year oil seed project is expected to cost sh600b and this will benefit over 120,000 smallholder farmers in the six hubs, with 60% of these being women and 40% youths.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: State minister for animal industry Bright Rwamirama said the project is aimed to reduce the country’s importation of edible oils. File photo

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