The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, has started an initiative of revamping an agricultural cluster development campaign that aims at sensitizing farmers on a six year’s comprehensive plan to operationalize the non-agricultural technology agribusiness and advisory services component of the sector, that was earlier developed and launched in 2012.
Ssempijja started the campaign recently in Bukkulula Sub-County, Kalungu district while meeting district leaders at different levels including farmers, through which he requested them to embrace the new system if they are to achieve more out of their sweat.
The agriculture cluster project came into existence after a parliamentary approval of USD150m from the World Bank on 15th September 2016.
According to Sempijja, the financing agreement between government of Uganda and World Bank was signed on 23rd September 2016, and five pilot districts have were selected including; Amuru, Iganga, Kalungu, Nebbi and Ntungamo, but that the project is expected to later roll out to 40 districts.
Under this project, government is encouraging formation of farmer`s groups through its structures at district levels, tablets and simple smart phones are to be used to register all farmers from within their localities.
Ssempijja says that government wants all farmers to be registered to use the farmers register to bring agricultural services at the grass root.
He urged farmers to form associations or farmer groups to enable government reach them easily instead of operating as individuals.
Sempijja added that the president is tired of dealing with individual people whom he says often approach him for financial support disguised as member representatives but that they usually don’t remit the money to benefit others.
The project development objective is to raise on-farm productivity, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specified geographic clusters focusing on commodities which include maize, rice, beans, cassava and coffee to enhance food security and export earnings from East and Central Africa (ECA) and Common markets for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) markets.