The judgement process for the 2022 Best Farmers competition has kicked off.
The five judges, led by Victoria Ssekitoleko, have held several meetings in which the judgement criteria was set.
“Because we are focusing on the best of the best, which is different from the previous competitions where we handled new farmers, we had to change the scoring system to,” Ssekitoleko says.
The winner`s awards are expected in December. Other than Ssekitoleko, the other judges are Josephat Byaruhanga, Augustine Mwendya, Andrew Anyagan and Professor Ogenga Latigo.
Victoria Ssekitoleko will lead the team of judges. Filed by Joshua Kato
Professor Ogenga Latigo has returned as one of the judges, replacing Dr Emma Naluyima who is now in the competition.
Ogenga Latigo, a veteran politician is also a farmer. He was one of the judges in 2014 and 2015, the first two years of the competition, before he left to rejoin Parliament in 2016. He did not return to Parliament in the 2021 elections.
Ogenga Latigo brings back to the judges panel many years of experience in the agriculture.
The other new judge is Andrew Anyagan from dfcu Bank. Anyagan worked as Agribusiness Specialist and Agriculture Loans Officer at Centenary Bank for 11 years, before joining dfcu Bank.
“I am privileged to be a judge of the most popular farmer`s competition in the country,” Anyagan said.
Josephat Byaruhanga, the Agriculture Policy Officer, Embassy of the Netherlands, is also a veteran national and community agriculturalist and Augustine Mwendya a veteran farmer`s leader and agriculturist.
According to the roadmap, the judges are reading through the over 30 profiles that have so far been published. At the end of October and the first week of November, they will go to the field to visit the candidate farms. Profiling is going on until the end of November.
“The best of the best winner will be announced on December 2, 2022,” says David Mukholi, the managing editor and coordinator of the Best Farmers competition.
Best of the best
The ‘best of the best’ farmers’ competition was launched at Rebecca Azza Ssenkubuge’s Cuzfresh farm at Garuga-Entebbe in June. Ssenkubuge is among the 2019 Best farmers.
The competition is organised by Vision Group and sponsored by the Netherlands embassy in Uganda, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, dfcu Bank and Koudjis Nutrition BV.
For the last seven years, 85 winners have been crowned and 59 gone to the Netherlands to learn and exchange experiences with the Dutch farmers.
The competitors are previous winners between 2014 and 2018. The winners will get cash prizes with the overall winner will bag sh50m, while the second and third winners will walk away with sh30m and sh20m, respectively. The rest will get sh7m, courtesy of dfcu Bank. However, they won’t travel to the Netherlands.
The competition has been running for the last seven years and although there was no competition in 2021, because of COVID-19 disruptions. However, the agriculture sector continued to thrive, helping the economy of the country to survive with little shock.
“We decided to have the previous winners competing among themselves to review the progress of the competition so far and the farmers’ impact on society,” said Byaruhanga.
Eighty-Five (85) winners have been awarded with sh1.05bn which most of the farmers have invested into acquiring new equipment and technologies that have improved their productivity in the farms.
Those who travelled to Netherlands have partnered with big firms in Netherlands and elsewhere to improve their farms, businesses and practices. Through linkages like those, livestock farmers have been able to access quality feeds from the Netherlands, importing quality day-old chicks, milk coolers among others which are vital aspects in production and productivity of farms.
“It is a unique contest because we are judging farmers who have already proved to be winners. For one to win again, they have to show progress from when they won and impact to the community around them,” Augustine Mwendya says.