The State Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Hon. Kyakulaga Fred Bwino has appealed to all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to work with government in ensuring the success of the Coffee and Tea Seedlings Distribution Program.
Hon. Bwino made these impressive remarks during a press briefing yesterday at Uganda Media Centre (UMC), where he explained government position regarding the procurement and distribution of coffee and tea seedlings.
Such efforts undertaken by authorities in Kampala are a strategic response mechanism to complaints raised by farmers regarding the availability of quality coffee and tea seedings, and prior preparations by nursery operators.
In that regard, government will procure seedlings from nursery operators and work with partners like Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and others, to distribute them to farmers in two financial years.
It is important to note that UCDA will distribute coffee and tea seedlings to farmers in 126 districts in Uganda, and only farmers who dug holes prior to this intervention will be considered.
National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) will be the lead agency for the procurement and distribution of tea seedlings in 16 districts. The process will also involve District Procurement Officers (DPOs) Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and Parish SAACOs.
Worth noting, the procurement of seedlings from verified nursery beds, delivery, verification of delivery and allocation will be done by District Allocation Committees, in collaboration with Parish Intelligence Security officers (PISO’s) and Gombolola Internal Security Officers (GISOs).
“I call upon all stakeholders, including farmers, nursery operators, District Local Governments, Parish Development Committees, Parish SACCOs, MDAs, the media and civil society to take note of this government intervention and support it to ensure success,” Hon. Fred Bwino appealed.
Besides, he also invited coffee stakeholders to join Coffee Uganda in the celebration of National Coffee Day 2022, which will take place on October 5th, 2022 at Kamama Estates in Masaka city, under the theme “A celebration of Robusta and the Greater Masaka Coffee.”
The ocassion to launch this government program was also utilized by UCDA to raise consciousness and impart vital knowledge to farmers regarding moden techniques of planting coffee seedlings, a strategy tailored towards increasing the crop harvests.
Executive Director for UCDA Dr. Emmanuel Iyamulemye Niyibigira advised that before planting these seedlings, it is an important strategy to first determine the type of soil on which one intends to establish a coffee garden.
Other techniques which he elaborated at length include allowing a 10×10 feet spacing, digging a very wide hole and leaving it for sometime before planting, so as to allow for the extinction of pests and diseases that would descend on young coffee plants.
He also emphasized early deposition of manure into the hole, planting at the start of the rainy season, in addition to ensuring proper and efficient care of young coffee plants.
Dr. Niyibigira reiterated that many farmers are ignorant on the cause of early crop failure for their plants, a challenge they have complained about over the years.
“We plant a seedling in a 2×2 feet hole, wait to plant the seedling in a hole for two months and then when it starts raining, plant it. You will understand that it will grow well without any failures.
Proper growth will be possible if you carry out good spacing because from a young plant to another, you should leave a space of 10 feet,” advised Dr. Niyibigira.
These techniques, he said facilitate proper and healthy growth of a coffee plant, giving it a lifespan of more than 60 years.
According to statistics from the Office of the President, coffee is Uganda’s major cash crop, both in terms of foreign exchange earning and employment creations. As a producer of coffee, Uganda ranks second in Africa, only superceded by Ethiopia, and the eighth in the world.
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