Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja

As a measure to increase agricultural production and reduce post-harvest losses, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has issued new guidelines to farmers for the new planting season that sets off in March when rains begin. 

In a statement to the local media, Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja says the new measures will help improve farmers’ food security and household incomes.

Urging the media to pass on the message to the population, Ssempijja said his ministry and the district local governments ‘must promote and support sustainable agricultural production and post-harvest technologies for improved food security and household incomes’.

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The statement says MAAIF has trained district extension officers on post-harvest handling.

‘The CAOs are requested to urge these officers to train Value Chain actors to enable proper handling the grains appropriately for improved quality and safety’, says the statement.

The minister further says that food nutrition and family life education has been conducted for extension workers who are in turn expected to guide households on growing nutritious foods like leafy vegetables and fruits (oranges and citrus), pumpkins, yams and orange flesh sweet potatoes.

‘Households should also keep micro livestock like goats, chicken, rabbits and fish farming.  The Ministry is ready to provide them fingerlings. We encourage households to keep diary animals for milk and manure to improve soil fertility for gardens’, Mr. Ssempijja says.

The minister also encouraged communities in drought prone areas to harvest water and de-silt dams in order to harvest enough water. He added that those in flood prone areas should open canals before rains begin to avoid flooding.

‘LCI chairpersons and Parish chiefs are requested to sensitize and mobilize communities to enforce bye-laws on wild fires, proper utilization of wetland and to discourage cultivation on steep slopes.  But also to protect the water catchment areas for growing trees or plantation crops’, he says.

Meanwhile, the minister has advised households harvesting maize and other cereals to do it quickly and be able to prepare fields for the next crop. He has condemned farmers who spray green kobs with herbicides so that they dry up fast.

‘The Ministry condemns the habit of spraying crops with herbicides to quicken drying; the practice renders the harvest unsafe.  This renders the crop unsafe for human and animal consumption and also compromises the grain quality’, he says.

He added that farmers should be advised to properly dry maize on tarpaulins/raised platforms to maintain the quality of grain.

‘If the grain is stored when it is still wet, this leads to discoloration and reduced quality’, he says.

 

 

 

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