President to officially open national agriculture show
July 16 ,2018—President Yoweri Museveni is expected to officially open the 26th National Agricultural Trade Show on July 17 in Jinja, eastern Uganda according to Dr. Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga, the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) president.
“The office of the Head of State has confirmed that the President will officially open the show and as the organisers of the event we are well prepared to receive him,” Kamuganga told 256BN.
Museveni is also the UNFEE Patron and as a cattle-keeper himself rarely fails to turn up. This year’s event started on July 13 and will end on July 22.
Under the theme ‘Fostering Agricultural Value Chains innovations for farm led food security, household income and job creation’, the show provides the largest national platform for transfer of farm technology produced by Ugandan scientists to advance agriculture modernization. It also showcases the latest in local farming as well as attracting several foreign exhibitors looking for new business opportunities.
Kamuganga said, “We estimate up-to 2,500 farmers, 10,000 showgoers from across the four corners of the country to attend the show daily. The UNFFE network brings up to 7.5 million farming households, 150 farmers’ organisations from 115 districts and up to 15 foreign nations are participating in the show.”
The show comes a time when the Ugandan agricultural sector is still dominated by subsistence farming which Museveni frequently points out as a major handicap. During the past decade, he has pushed forward a number of pilot projects designed to provide examples to farmers on how to exploit value-addition, increase productivity and diversify their agricultural activities.
Commercial farming makes up less than 10% of Uganda’s total farm output. “The era of subsistence agriculture must end. UNFFE will drive a new era of farm productivity change that will integrate a smallholder farmer into global agricultural value chains. We have identified effective technology transfer and adoption as the cornerstones of agriculture modernization,” Kamuganga said.
He said the Federation is partnering with the government to encourage 69 pc of subsistence farm households to adopt the President’s 4-acre model which is a crucial element in agriculture transformation. The model involves one acre for coffee (Robusta or Arabica as appropriate); an acre of fruits (oranges, mangoes, grapes or apples according to the zones); another acre of bananas or other food crops such as rice, cassava, Irish potatoes or millet (my preferred food) and the fourth acre for elephant grass (ebisagazi, ebibingo) for the zero grazing cattle.
During the past two decades, Uganda has diversified its farming exports from the cash crops of coffee, tea and tobacco into fish products and cut flowers. Ugandan farmers have also exploited the regional grains and cereals market. Agriculture employs about 70 pc of the population contributes between 25 pc and 35 pc of the annual GDP and most of the foreign exchange earnings.