Farmers told to embrace new innovations at agricultural trade fair

GULU – Northern Uganda small-scale farmers were urged to embrace new innovations and technologies to respond to the emerging challenges of climate change as a regional agricultural exhibition commenced in Gulu City.

A five-day trade fair which kicked off on Wednesday at Pece stadium in Gulu City is expected to close on Sunday bringing about 150 agribusiness exhibitors with new innovations and technologies for farming.

Addressing the launch of the exhibition on Thursday, Major General Samuel Kavuma, the deputy national coordinator for Operation Wealth Creation urged the farmers to grow drought-resistant crops.

Kavuma noted that, though climate change threatens food security in most parts of the country, the Northern region can still produce food without relying on rain-fed agriculture, as long as farmers can acquire agricultural innovations.

He explained that with new innovations such as irrigation among others, the farmers can organically grow food, without having to use fertilisers.

“What the government needed much for this region was the peace and we have it now and there are already enablers for the people to utilise and exploit the resources to recover from the war,” Kavuma said. Northern Uganda was greatly affected by Joseph Kony war which took over 20 years.

The exhibition in Gulu City was organised by Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services in partnership with the Bank of Uganda, and Gulu University among others.

Grace Musimami, the General Secretary of the Forum, noted that there is a need for farmers to embrace new innovations for improved crop production.

Solar pump irrigation system being exhibited at the agricultural trade fair in Pece Stadium (Photo by Simon Wokorach).

He explained that the lack of agricultural extension services is a setback to most of the farmers in the rural areas since they have limited knowledge of agroecology.

The executive director Centre for African Research, Arthur Owor noted that there is an existing gap when it comes to using indigenous knowledge in agricultural production.

“We need to preserve indigenous knowledge in mitigating the effects of climate change. This region [Northern Uganda] has a comparative advantage when it comes to land and can walk away from poverty with new agricultural innovations,” he noted.

Ismail Tabu, a student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Gulu University commended the exhibition for unveiling new agricultural technologies that they study during lectures.

Meanwhile, Filder Ocaya, a local farmer from Kweyo Growers’ Cooperative decried limitations in accessing extension services and expensive agricultural technologies.

However, Alex Lwanja, a director at the Bank of Uganda urged commercial banks in the country to establish agricultural credit facilities affordable to the farmers so that they can be able to buy technologies to boost commercial farming.

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