At least 400 farmers in Lwengo district under their umbrella of Buddu Agricultural Farmers Association (BAFFA) are set to benefit from a fully-fledged resource centre aimed at improving farmers’ productivity and providing them with timely market information.
Eng. Ponsiano Matovu, the BAFFA Chairperson and caretaker of the resource centre, explains that the resource centre, which is comprised of 12 computers, complete with the latest farmers’ software and high speed internet connectivity, is part of the government’s Rural Communication Development Project implemented through the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
According to Ponsiano, the resource centre comes as a timely advancement that will provide farmers with an opportunity of getting reliable solutions and technical skills on crops and animals and accordingly improve their farm production capacity.
“This is going to serve as a research and online marketing centre for our farmers. One of our challenges has been the absence of a reliable source of information to respond to farmers’ challenges. Now, with this facility, we can make timely consultations both on the local and international levels,” he noted during the launch of the resource centre in Kkongo sub county, Masaka city.
He explained that the centre will also serve as a training ground and knowledge-sharing hub for farmers, especially the youth who will be able to obtain latest farming technologies and later replicate them in the area.
“For instance, many of our farmers have lost their livestock to diseases like swine fever that usually strike in the prolonged dry season. But surprisingly, our colleagues in Denmark have a response to it. But in the past, we could not share such knowledge due to the underlying communication gap,” he noted.
In the resource centre, Matovu added that the association has secured a reliable partner that can offer knowledge on agriculture extension services.
Dr. Dick Kamuganga, the President of the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) reveals that centre aims at modernizing agriculture in the country as an approach to improving local productivity and farmers’ incomes.
“This is part of our five-year farmers’ empowerment agenda aimed at ensuring that our people get the necessary digital skills. We are in talks with government to roll out the project across the country by supporting organized farmers’ groups with such facilities,” he observed.
Kamuganga explains that having in place such resource centres in different parts of the country, simplifies the process of disseminating agriculture extension knowledge compared to relying on manpower, whose presence government is still struggling to ensure in all sub counties across the country.
Herman Ssentongo, the Masaka Resident District Commissioner while launching the centre valued at Shs 280m, asked the benefiting farmers to ensure full security of the investment. He also encouraged more people to embrace a cooperative spirit, saying:
“It is easier to support organised groups than individuals, as that would results into scattering the limited resources we have.”
BAFFA aims to promote piggery and commercial horticulture farming practices in Lwengo and Masaka districts.