By Agnes Nantambi
Government is yet to set up 11 farm service centers to help farmers access the right information, the director planning and policy, Operation Wealth Creation, Sarah Kataike Ndoboli has said.
The farm service centers she said are going to be run by the ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Operation Wealth Creation.
“I am sure it will add a brick on what other private sector players are doing, because farmers need continuous information to furnish them to be able to take the right decisions at the right time, “she said.
She observed the need for researchers to get organized to provide services to the farmers saying they are facing a lot of challenges to access the right inputs, the right technology and the right market information.
Kataike also called for harmonization of research with extension services to help farmers get updated technologies.
“For example, NaCCORI is churning out a lot of technologies, a lot of information and skills but it is not linked to extension, there is a lot of gaps, the extension technical officer are giving outdated information whereas research is churning out new technologies on the control of pests and diseases but extension has remained far behind.
We appeal that in order to be efficient, the link between extension and NARO must be close, they must consult with research to be able to give the right information to the farmers,” he said.
Kataike also called for designing of different categories of Agricultural credit facilities for different farmers other than one which targets the middle farmers alone.
“Those services are not reaching the common person because they have a lot of procedures requiring audited books of accounts and a lot of things which the low person cannot afford, “she said.
The director NaCCORI Geoffrey Alinaitwe confirmed that the institute has not done a lot to do research focusing on the entire value chain of coffee and cocoa saying the research they have been doing has been targeting publication.
“We have been doing research for many years but research on this country for agriculture and areas has been targeting publication.
We have not targeted research that results into products for export and industry development, so the gap in research is huge. if it comes to value addition and coffee processing research, that’s why we have been exporting green coffee and cocoa beans,” he said.
He added, “If you look at the people who buy our coffee in Germany, Italy, USA and UK, companies which do research on developing value-added products, they get 20 times the money we get from the coffee export, which is surprising.
What NaCCORI is pushing is to have research contribute to at least 20% of the value generated from the value-added export because at every stage in production, value is added and it has its value is research,” he said.
He explained that we cannot have high yielding market demanded varieties without engaging researchers, or have cosmetic products of the quality that the market is looking for without involving them
The institute he said is proposing research that is looking at having value added products that can be exported or can be used by the industry for example the coffee powders that can make products in confectionary.
“We are looking at research that will give products that will form consumer goods, that creates partnership with private sector, companies in beauty industry, beverages like a beer which will maintain people’s balance, “he said.
This was during the plant clinic organized by NaCCORI in Mukono over the weekend.