By James Mututa
KAMPALA. Government is demonstrating simple irrigation and water harvesting technologies to boost agriculture in the country, President Yoweri Museveni promised Friday.
“Government will avail demonstrating simple irrigation and water harvesting technologies as it continues rehabilitate the existing schemes of Doho, Mubuku and Agoro. We have also constructed dams and valley tanks in Karamoja and the cattle corridor adding that more irrigation schemes and livestock water facilities will be constructed with support of the African Development Bank,” he said.
In a speech read for him by the Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi at the opening of the 26th Source of the Nile Trade show in Jinja, President Museveni said agriculture is a primary driver for transformating lives of Ugandans.
“Government is committed to its efforts of enabling all households, especially in rural areas, of earning Shs20 million per year,” he said.
President Museveni said agriculture is led growth continues to play a pivotal role for Uganda.
“Small holder farmer population of over 4.2 million, deriving their livelihood directly from agriculture, will promote value addition to improve Uganda’s foreign earning and reduce the import bill,” the President said.
He cited the tea industry which he said has made tremendous progress in the last 10 years with the current production of over 61,000 metric tons since 2014.
The President said, “Of this production 60,000 tons were exported generating $84 million adding that the target is to produce about 140,000 tons by 2020, valued at approximately $190 million.”
He said that government will continue supporting the production and distribution of quality tea plantlets in order to boost value addition for tea.
“In partnership with the private sector, we have build 25 single line tea factories in Kisoro, Kabale, Kanungu, Zombo and Mityana with a capacity to produce 800,000 to1,000,000 tons of tea per annum.”
He said that government has also made big strides in the vegetable oil industry with a total of over 10,000 hectares of palm trees established, 33 traditional oil mills and about 80,000 households have benefited from increased incomes and employment opportunities in Kalangala and Buvuma and Eastern and Northern Uganda districts
In the livestock sector, the president observed that, milk production is increasing and currently stands at approximately 2 billion litres annually valued at $730 million adding that the target is realise 3.5 billion litres annually by 2020, through improved dairy cattle germplasm, provision of water and boosting the processing capacity.
For beef, he said that, the target is 360,000 tons by 2020 estimated at $1.6 billion saying this will be achieved through support to animal breeding infrastructure, provision of water and meat export support services. He noted the major challenges have been steady supply to the abattoirs, pests and diseases which he said have been overcome.
The President said that in order to roll-out on irrigation system in the whole country, government is encouraging industrialists to set up assembly or manufacturing plants for solar-powered water pumps which will be used in government funded irrigation schemes while others, will be used by the farmers at their own cost.
During the science and innovation packed agriculture show, the President congratulate all the exhibitors from within and outside Uganda for displaying products and technologies appealed to Ugandans to learn from others new practices and experiences that they can in their businesses.