For long, like a preacher in the wilderness, President Museveni has laboured to spread the gospel of value-added farming and now international happenings bare him out. With the worldwide economic recession, individual and institutional expenditure have been hit but one thing that will continue to be on high demand is food.
Regionally, we are already experiencing shortfalls in food supply. This increased regional demand for food is an opportunity for Ugandan farmers to invest more time and resources in commercial food production.
In the past , the New Vision has published profiles of successful farmers under the Harvest Money series. The stories have highlighted ordinary determined, hard working and resilient Ugandans who have made it against the odds.
Uganda’s natural gift is her weather and fertile soils. Very few countries in the world are lucky to have two rainy seasons a year and two annual seasons of crop like Uganda. However many Ugandans remain jobless as vast expanses of land are left unutilised because farming is despised or considered to be very tedious.
Indeed, their fears are not entirely baseless; Many farmers have in the past, lost money because of lack of strategy and clear guidance in Agriculture. It is also necessary to review our education system so that our schools and colleges produce graduates with mindsets that recognise the treasure in the farmland.
The ministries of agriculture, education and all stakeholders should strengthen campaigns geared to returning Ugandans to the farmland. This campaigns can only bear fruit if it does not stop at lip service. Extension workers need better facilitation to follow the masses to the farms rather than remain at their desks.
In addition, there is need for serious and consistent government intervention to improve access to manageable farm loans, inputs, transport, and other infrastructure so markets are more accessible.