The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze has revealed why his ministry is interested in supporting large-scale farmers.
Tumwebaze who is also the Kibale County MP says his ministry mainly supports large scale farmers so that they can, in turn, become anchor support points for their colleagues who operate on small scale.
The minister made the revelation on Friday durining his field visit to Musubi avocado farm in Mayuge district where the ministry had gone to formalize their engagement with the farm as a nucleolus production centre for Hass Avocado seedlings.
The engagement was also intended to increase the development of Hass avocado value chain so as to scale up production. Mr Tumwebaze was very pleased with the production of Hass Avacado as an improved variety and pledged to support the farm so that even lower farmers who cannot manage such seedlings can have them from Musubi.
“It’s our strategy as MAAIF to partner with large scale farmers like Musubi farm so that they can, in turn, become anchor support points for the smallholder farmers around them so as to meet quality and quantity production demands for big markets,” Mr Tumwebaze noted.
He also welcomed the idea of growing avocado in the Busoga region because it can act as an agent of diversification from sugar-growing which has currently become a problem.
“I want to see Musubi village Bugaboli sub-county transforming to avocado growing and remember Sugarcane growing in Busoga has been an big issue, so, this could be a transformation of this area. Therefore, you have our support, we have started even before the government gave us endorsement on avocado, we have started so our task now is to go before cabinet and make a case.”
“Most people think that we are supporting the rich farmers, it’s not the case, now for the case of Musubi farm, people will ask why are we supporting Musubi farm? But we are not supporting Musubi farm but we are using it to reach the grassroot farmers and even those who cannot manage even to buy a seedling. So we are engaging him so that he can give our farmers good seeds at a subsidized price,” he said.
He added that supporting large farmers helps in mobilization because big farms can manage to sensitize small farmers without the government’s hand since they know very well that the small farmer when mobilized well can create a market for their seedlings.
“So, our strategy of working with nucleolus or large-scale capacity farming is not to exclude the small ones but it’s actually to integrate the small ones in a sustainable way because I cannot reach every smallholder farmer directly; he said.
Mr Tumwebaze further asserted that the ministry is now dealing with large farms because of the challenges Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) encountered when it was dealing with small farmers.
“OWC was massive but they reached only less than a million households but through this strategy, we shall reach everyone.”
Meanwhile Hass Avocado is a grafted product between Uganda’s traditional avocado and the improved variety. The grafted seedlings give fruits with longer shelf life, high productivity and higher oil content.
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