AMURU –To spur on-farm productivity and shore up the market for big volumes of agricultural commodities, Amuru District local government is constructing 11 produce stores worth about Shs1.5 billion for cooperative groups and farmer associations.
The 3,000 metric tons each capacity stores are being built in Atiak Sub County, one in Pabbo Sub County, four in the northern Amuru town council and three in Lamogi Sub County.
The beneficiary cooperatives include; Pupwonya Cooperative Society, Pabbo Rice Cooperative Society, Amuru Progressive Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Ojigi Cooperative Society in Amuru Sub County and Patopa Cooperative Society in Amuru district.
Samuel Kidega, the Amuru District commercial officer, said construction of the produce stores is funded under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project-ACDP program.
ACDP, which started in January 2012, is a partnership project between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the World Bank –financed by the bank’s International Development Assistance (IDA).
The project, implemented in 57 districts across Uganda, aims to raise on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities (maize, beans, rice, cassava and coffee).
Kidega said farmers have been hiring small lockup shops in the trading center to store their produce.
Amuru District Production Officer, Okwonga Batulumayo said a lack of storage facilities in most sub counties in the district forced farmers to store their produce in their houses.
“Quality is usually compromised when farmers store their agricultural produce in the house,” Okwonga said.
The production officer said Shs 2.5 billion has been given to the district to construct roads linking storage facilities to the market.
“These roads will ensure that farmers do not waste too much money on transport to access the market for their produce,” He said.
Meanwhile, Geoffrey Orsbon Oceng, the Amuru Resident District Commissioner, urged farmers to own stores.
“The government is doing everything possible to help farmers move out of poverty by investing in projects that directly help them but they have to embrace the projects,” he said.
Amuru District has 15 produce stores already, which were constructed by non-governmental organizations but only one in Pabbo Kal in Pabbo Sub-County is fully operational.
Interviewed, Bartholomew Okwonga, the Amuru District Production Officer, said some farmers abandoned the produce stores because of poor handling of their produce in storage.
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