By Patrick Okino and Hudson Apunyo
The Government has approved sh176b to enhance the production of four major food crops in order to avert food insecurity in the country.
The was revealed on Monday, December 12, by Ronald Ssegawa Gyagenda, an undersecretary in the agriculture ministry, during a visit by Parliament’s committee on agriculture to Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (ZARDI) in Lira city.
He said in the first phase of the project, six government agencies such as the National Agricultural Research Organisation, Uganda Prisons Service, Uganda People’s Defence Forces, National Enterprises Corporation, as well as National AnimalGenetic Resources Centre and Data Bank, had been identified to produce enough food for the country and ensure there is surplus kept for emergencies.
The targeted crops are maize, beans, soya beans and sorghum. The Government, through its agencies, is expected to raise 110,000 acres under production.
“The intention of the Government is to intensify the production of security crops to address the scarcity we have been experiencing in some parts of the country and to make sure that our animals have food,” Gyagenda said.
In August, the Cabinet took a decision to carry out immediate short and mediumterm strategies to produce food.
Government agencies were tasked with producing food to avert any shortages.
The decision followed a famine that was three months ago reported in some parts of the country, especially in the Karamoja sub-region, where over 400 people lost their lives. The most affected were children and the elderly.
The committee’s vice chairperson, Dr Agnes Apea, who led the MPs, said the Government intervention to avert food insecurity in the country was bearing fruit as there is success being registered.
“The Government, through the President, said we need to produce food and animal feeds and as a committee, we started this journey from Busoga, Teso and we are in Lango,” she said.
“But I want to say I’m impressed with Ngetta. I am impressed with the yields (maize and soya beans) and as Parliament, an intervention of this nature gives us hope,” Apea added.
She said by doing so, the country will be able to address the issue of counterfeit seeds because the crops promoted are foundation seeds being produced by scientists.
Dr Laban Turygenda, the director Ngetta ZARDI, requested the Government to avail the institutes with more tractors to ease production.