By Prossy Nandudu
Government through the Ministry of Agriculture is to profile large scale commercial farmers that produce on the large scale to support them produce commodities with a high national and International demand.
To qualify, farmers should be farming on 50 acres and above, and engaged in commodities such as Coffee, Macadamia, Avocado, Cashew nuts, Tea, Cotton, Beef Ranching, Oil Seeds, Oil Palm Horticulture, Cocoa, Aquaculture, among others.
The combined market value of some of these commodities in Africa alone was over USD 20 billion but Uganda’s export earnings from these commodities amounted to less than USD 1 billion in the year 2020.
This was revealed by the Minister of State for Agriculture Fred Bwino Kyakulaga while presenting achievements of the sector in the last two and half years of the NRM manifesto on Monday at the Office of the Prime Minister.
He explained further that for small holder farmers, these will be supported to work through co-operatives that will work with large commercial farmers.
“The smallholder farmers will in effect be helped to produce qualitatively and sustainably for the market. The big commercial farmer will increase both his/her own production and the off-take capacity for the products of the cooperatives,” Bwino explained further.
To further support the large scale farmers, the government will provide tractors, bush clearing equipment, production and storage infrastructure, and use the big farmer’s farm as a training and demonstration center for the smallholder farmer.
The initiative will build capacity among farmers to increase production, meet targeted volumes, and quality based on demands of the market.
For transparency, Bwino said that a guideline for the selection of the commercial farmers per district is being developed by the ministry before roll out.