President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned and handed over agricultural machinery and vehicles to agricultural extension workers to promote agricultural mechanization in the country.
The ceremony took place last Thursday at Namalere Agricultural Referral Mechanization centre in Wakiso District. The consignment that was procured by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at almost Shs.46 billion includes 12 pieces of earth moving equipment, 284 tractors, 126 vehicles allotted to district local governments and 1061 motorcycles for Sub-Counties.
The President, who toured exhibitions showcasing different value-added agricultural products, encouraged local leaders in the country to share the knowledge of modern agriculture with the farmers in the villages.
“God gave us the example of the parable of talents. Some lost them, some did not multiply them but those who multiplied them were rewarded. God gives you a responsibility to wake up people who do not know. If you do not carry out your responsibility, you might be shut from heaven,” he said.
Mr. Museveni stressed that for farmers to embrace modern technology, there must be a change in their attitude. He reiterated that farmers must be calculative and use fertilizers to increase productivity of their production activities.
“A tractor can do 5 acres per day but a human being can take a month. We are not only going to end with tractors. You have heard that that we opened up a phosphate fertilizer factory in Tororo,” he said.
The President, who also launched the farmers’ register for purposes of recording all farmers at the village level in every parish, was happy to note that it was a good plan which would help to track the progress made by farmers so that lazy and hardworking ones are easily found out. He also performed the ceremony of handing over agricultural tool kits to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, to Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Archdiocese and Deputy Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waisswa to help their respective communities further the fight against household poverty in their respective regions.
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Sempijja hailed President Museveni for being the chief mobiliser of teaching farmers how to get out of poverty. He said that most of the farmers have now started embracing modern farming methods.
Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Permanent Secretary, Mr. Pius Wakabi, said the procured equipment must be put to the purposes for which they were intended and only at permitted occasions would they be used outside the scope of the prescribed work.
“Motorcycles should be used for mobility of extension workers. We shall be closely watching the mileage,” he remarked.
He was also happy to note that there has been tremendous economic growth of the dairy products to US130 million in 2017 -2018 from US$50 million in 2015-2016. He requested government to consider setting up more strategic and vital infrastructure such as laboratories to improve the quality of agricultural products through ample research.