Residents of Mbarara City North constituency in Mbarara city have embarked on sugarcane farming to improve on household income.
Dr Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari, the legislator for Mbarara City North, launched the growing of sugarcane in a campaign dubbed ‘Plant a fruit drive’ on Saturday, September 24, in three villages of Kamukuzi, Nkokonjeru and Mbaguta.
He said the project will cover all 82 villages.
“In our strive to make our Mbarara City North a model constituency, we embark on a drive of sugarcane farming and each household will have stalks to plant. This project is in line with Parish Development Model programme to ensure that people move from subsistence farming to a money economy,” he said.
Rukaari also assured farmers of market for the sugarcane, noting that Mbarara has a potential market for their produce at Koranorya Agricultural Market, one of the biggest markets in the country, where they will be able to sell their produce.
“Apart from taping money from sugarcane farming, the plant also has many health benefits for our bodies. If you have 20 stalks in your compound, you are able to sell some to buy other necessities at home and save some money because you are better off than those who don’t have what to sell,” he said.
Rukaari encouraged them to invest in value addition or processing of their products to enable them compete with others in the market.
He pledged to support the best three sugarcane farmers in the village with sugarcane juice machines as motivation for others to improve in both farming and value addition, saying the issue of markets for their products must be seen using a different lens.
Rukaari also encouraged farmers to utilise the small pieces of land to grow pawpaws, vegetables and other fruits in their backyards.
Hadijah Kibirige, a farmer in Nkokonjeru who was given 50 stalks of sugarcane, said the project is a good initiative that will improve household income, especially for housewives that are not working and depend on daily cash (Kameeza) from their husbands.
Willis Asingwire Rushamata, the Nkokonjeru LC1 chairperson, said he is going to ensure that all residents embrace the project and Nkokonjeru becomes a model village for sugarcane growing.
George Nuwamanya, the LC1 chairperson for Mbaguta cell, said the project is a good initiative aiming at driving people out of poverty, but urged leaders to always make prior plans with the locals of the intended development projects, so that they can be given to those interested.
“We appreciate your efforts of lobbying for us. But it is good to first consult and know those who are able to take up the project to avoid wastage of resources. There are some who were given chicks but had no knowledge of keeping birds and decided to sell them,” he said.