By Stephen Nuwagira
Farmers in Ibanda should embrace new agriculture technologies if they are to improve production and also earn more from their farming activities, said Ibanda District Farmers’ Association (IBADIFA) chairperson Dr Ferdinand Bitarabeho. Dr Bitarabeho said new technologies and innovations were crucial to efforts geared at increasing animal and crop production in the district besides enabling farmers to earn more from their enterprises, thanks to value addition.
The IBADIFA chairperson was speaking during the opening of the district agriculture training and exhibition this afternoon, May 25, at Saza Playground in Ibanda town. The three-day event aims at showcasing new agro-innovations and technologies, as well as creating market linkages among farmers and buyers. It is being conducted under the theme, “Agriculture modernisation and value addition” and has attracted farmers, processors, irrigation equipment vendors, education institutions including Ibanda University and the general public.
Bitarabeho said while some residents claim they are food insecure due to lack of big chunks of land, innovations like vertical crop production and growing crops in sacks or old basins and buckets positioned around one’s home, can address this challenge. “We need to change our mindset and embrace such innovations to fight food poverty in our homes,” he said, citing the innovations exhibited by Kagiira Skills Development Centre from Ishongororo in Ibanda North County.
Peter Abaho, the district principal agriculture officer, said farmers will be trained in different aspects of crop and animal production during the event that ends on Saturday May 27. Experts will share knowledge across the agricultural value chains to help farmers improve their enterprises and, hence, benefit more from them, he said at the event was organised by Ibanda Community Organisation Network (ICON), IBADIFA and Ibanda district’s production department.
Coffee quality control, tick and disease control in animals and poultry management were some of the topics handled during the initial sessions on Thursday afternoon.
Patience Tumwine, a dairy sector exhibitor, was optimistic she would get clients for the improved pasture varieties at her farm. She urged farmer farmers to grow improved pastures, saying they support animal health and help to improve milk production.
Francis Kesimiire, from Bisheshe Coffee Producers Association, lauded the organisers efforts aimed at promoting technology and value addition. He however said lack of equipment and sustainable markets were forcing many farmers to stick to traditional ways of production.
The free farmer training and exhibition continues Friday and Saturday.