COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you from planting! Agriculture Minister urges farmers

Kampala – Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Uganda’s Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has called upon farmers to not neglect their gardens, RedPepper Digital‘s Jolly Gwari reports

Hon. Ssempijja has advised farmers to start planting crops as soon as possible. As rains pound many parts of the country, Hon. Bamulangaki on Saturday, March 28, argued farmers to figure out what to grow especially foods that boost immunity to fight coronavirus.

However, Bamulangaki warned farmers to stick on the ongoing directives of self-isolation.

“Following the Presidential Directives and the Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19 pandemic, we wish to advise the farming communities and the general public on the Agricultural and Nutrition activities that should be undertaken during the period of the Directives. The COVID-19 Pandemic has unfortunately coincided with the beginning of the first cropping season of the Year 2020 and, this is likely to affect Agricultural activities, particularly food production. In spite of this pandemic, Agricultural activities need to continue but with strict adherence to the Directives and the Ministry of Health guidelines,” he explained.

Speaking at Uganda Media Center, he called upon farmers to take advantage of the current rains to plant and manage crops, look after livestock and fisheries to ensure food, nutrition security, and income during and after the pandemic.

He further recommended the planting of immune-boosting foods like vegetables. Farmers and the general public are encouraged to produce and consume a balanced diet derived from Crops, Animals and Fisheries’ Resources.

Notably, to support your immune system, eat immunity supporting foods like citrus fruits, garlic, broccoli, and spinach. More so, mangoes; Pineapples; Passion fruits; Water Melon and Guavas, are rich in Vitamins and Minerals (Phytonutrients) which play a big role in boosting body immunity.

Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja (PHOTO: File)

Similarly, Vegetable crops including; Carrots, Tomatoes, Onions, Cabbages, Green Pepper, leafy vegetables (Amaranthus/Ddodo, Bbuga, Nakati, African Night Shade/Ensuugga/ Enswiga, Ggobe, Jobbiyo/Akeyo, Malakwang, Bboo/Eboo) should be eaten in combination because they are also rich in Vitamins and Minerals.

Farmers and the general public ought to grow and consume Bio-fortified nutrient-dense crops such as the Vitamin A Rich Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (NASPOT 8, NASPOT 12, NASPOT 13; Iron/Zinc Rich Beans (NARO Bean 1, NARO Bean 2, NARO Bean 3, NARO Bean 4C and NARO Bean 5C).

“Am aware that our farmers are organized in farmer groups, cooperatives, SACCOs, and all these. But I want to call upon them to avoid big meetings where they have many members in one place,” Hon. Ssempijja warned in reference to the presidential directive barring public gatherings

“They can meet members in smaller groups; they can also find another way of communicating, using phones, instead of having big meetings of 100-200 people. When it is inevitable that you have to meet in a group, maybe in a smaller group of executive members of the SACCO, or a farmer group,” he added urging them to avoid shaking hands, hugging, and coming into close proximity.

The number of coronavirus cases has been increasing each with the Ministry of Health on Sunday, March 29, confirming three cases of coronavirus in Uganda bringing the total number to 33.

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