Agriculture minister Vincent Sempijja has urged Ugandans with large tracts of land to invest in commercial agriculture instead of concentrating on subsistence farming, which he said is not sustainable if families are to create wealth.
The minister was speaking at the official launch of the on-going one week-long National Agricultural Show taking place at the Jinja Agricultural showground.
Minister Sempijja discouraged Ugandans from offering their land as security for bank loans, advising them that they should instead use the same land for commercial farming.
He said government would help small farmers as well farmers’ cooperatives to acquire tractors and other machinery to enable them undertake large scale farming.
“We want to help out the 68 percent small scale farmers that are still carrying out subsistence farming, so that they can shift and starting engaging in commercial agricultural production that allows wealth creation,” he said.
The agricultural show that is run annually highlights and create awareness about food insecurity, showcases technology and plant and animal improved varieties. Dealers in agricultural machinery, pesticides, herbicides, seed, fertilizer and manure also exhibit as they look for potential clients.
The minister said modernization of agriculture is one the components to drive Uganda into middle income status by 2020 as indicated in the National Development Plan.
He said Government, is to acquire and distribute about 260 to farmers. “These will be provided to farmers in groups free of charge,” he said.
Pader Woman Member of Parliament Lowila Oketayot, also head of the Parliamentary committee on agriculture, said she would lobby parliament ensure that government puts more financial resources in the exhibition she said was crucial for the country.
Former Mayor Jinja municipality, Kezaala Muhammad Baswale urged government establish model farmers that can act as learning centres for mechanization and others.
Victoria Sekitoleko, the former Agriculture Minister, but also the Chairperson of the show’s organizing committee implored farmers participate in the show to get more knowledge on how they can improve their farming activities.