August 8, 2013

MAK DON: Govt Should Invest In Commercial Agriculture

There is need for the Agriculture sector to invest in industrial based commercial farming, in order to meet demands locally and tap the potential of selling produce to foreign markets.

According to William Kyamuhangire, an Associate Professor at the Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and an expert on Agri- business and commercial farming, although Uganda’s climatic conditions have changed over time, little is being done to invest in large scale irrigation.

Kyamuhangire argues that Agriculture and industrial development go hand in hand and urges the Government to invest in commercial production.

One of the Uganda Vision 2040 objectives is to enhance Agricultural productivity through irrigation, given that while the country experiences dry spells leading to shortages in production, the irrigation infrastructure is not fully developed.

The plan is to make land reforms to facilitate faster acquisition of land for infrastructure development and commercialization of agriculture.

However, the reality of this vision is far from being actualized.

The business people are concerned that even though weather patterns are not predictable, farmers are not supported to sustain production during dry conditions.

The Vision 2040 also seeks to create better urbanization policies that can separate residential areas from land that can solely be put to commercial farming.

Okaasai Opolot, Director Crop Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, says that commercial Agriculture should not only be seen as large scale endeavour, farmers can utilize resources at local level and adapt methods that can conserve rainfall and Agricultural land.

The Vision envisages that the Government will invest more in private sector Agro – based projects, aimed at enhancing health and nutrition status of the population. It is envisaged that these factors could see Uganda graduate to a lower middle income category by 2032 and developed country in 2040.

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