The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has urged farmers to consider intensive commercial agriculture in a bid to grow household incomes and improve Uganda’s economy.
Kadaga also asked farmers in Busoga sub region to take advantage of the several partnerships made with the Government of China, to provide financial support to the country’s agriculture sector, as well as train Ugandans in modern methods of farming.
“Through the Vice President’s office, Government of Uganda signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of China to support agriculture, industries and education sector. We now have a partnership through the Busoga Consortium with China,” said Kadaga.
The Speaker was addressing Kamuli district leadership, farmers and management of Kasolwe Stock Farm, on her visit to the farm to assess its needs for rehabilitation through support from Chinese investors.
The Speaker was accompanied by Mr. Zhang Hao, the Special Chinese Envoy to Uganda on Busoga affairs. Kadaga said the farm had been abandoned in the 1960s, but works were currently in progress to revive it.
“We want to create a centre of excellence in animal breeding. Mr. Zhang who is the proprietor of Kapeeka industrial park will help us to use part of the farm land to set up industries that can improve the local economy,” Kadaga said.
She expressed optimism that with the rehabilitation of Kasolwe stock farm with a veterinary institution, bigger animal stock with improved breeds and an industrial park, the livelihoods of the area locals and the region’s economic status would receive a big boost.
“With an industrial park here, people will have easy market for their farm produce as well as employment opportunities,” she said.
Bugabula North MP, Hon. Moses Kizige, said that the 1,900 acre stock farm resulted from cooperation between Government of Uganda and that of Israel in 1966 that was later, under the Ninth Parliament, rehabilitated as a dairy farm with a loan from the African Development Bank.
“The invitation of partners like Mr. Zhang and NAGRC [the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank] indicates that we can utilize this stock farm to develop our region,” said Kizige.
Zhang Hao said that agriculture was a major sector that Ugandans ought to invest in, adding that the new partnership would solve challenges of market access by local farmers.
“In March 2019, the Mayor of Liaoning Province will come to Uganda to sign a partnership with Busoga and to purchase the agricultural produce from the area. We shall invest in all avenues to help this region grow faster,” Zhang said.
In November, government launched a US$42.3m (Shs161.5b) Busoga livestock project, which sought to revitalize Kasolwe stock farm to international standard, introduce community breeding services and establish a functional market information system for small holder farmers.