By Michael Odeng, Caro Kasujja Adii and Ibrahim Ruhweza
The Member of Parliament for Busiro East Constituency, Medard Lubega Sseggona has appealed to the Government to focus more on mechanisation and irrigation schemes if they are to see a growth in the sector. Attending the Harvest Money expo at the Kololo Independence Grounds on Saturday, the MP said mechanisation and irrigation are better and more important than waiting for rainy seasons to plant crops. “Waiting for a rainy season to plant crops is not a modern way of practicing farming,” Sseggona said.
The legislator also said he is impressed with the expo because of the number of exhibitors showcasing products and him getting contacts for best breeds. “Emphasis should be put on agriculture because Uganda has fertile land for farming, which farmers should take advantage of,” he advised. Sseggona also noted that animal husbandry is the way to go because animal wastes can be used to boost agricultural yields.
The Harvest Money Expo is organised by Vision Group and sponsored by the Kingdom of Netherlands, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS), Pepsi, Engineering Solutions Ltd (ENGSOL), RIELA/UPFRONT, Agricultural Credit Facility, Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, Champrisa International and State House.
The three-day event has attracted big and small exhibitors who are showcasing what they can offer to the public. At the expo, there are also facilitators from both public and private institutions training people in various fields. Ssegona also said the expo has extended new opportunities to farmers who have been looking for market, connections and skills.
He says as a farmer, visiting the expo has helped him connect with other farmers and dealers of onions, banana cattle keepers.
“I have been able to get contacts of some potential farmers and I am going to get contacts of the best breeds that I want. This is what I have achieved,” he said. Seggona noted that farming will continue to play a pertinent and key role in alleviating poverty in Uganda, but that there is a need to invest more in it, by harnessing new skills for farmers to produce quality.
According to him, experts should be distributed to different parts of the country to sensitise people on how to manage modern agriculture. “You can take electricity to the villages, but what are they going to use it for? How are they going to even pay for it? It may end up useless in those villages if you do not emphasise things that have a comparative advantage in farming than other sectors,” he said.
Seggona said agriculture employs a huge number of people, adding the Uganda’s fertile soils are an asset for farmers, and the only thing they need is financial support. The expo started on Friday and will be closing tomorrow, Sunday February 12. It is running under the theme, Farming as a Business-Post Harvest Handling and Value Addition.