KWANIA, January 25, 2024 – Over 1000 oil seed farmers in Kwania North Constituency in Kwania district have been enrolled into one cluster in a bid to boost oil seed production.
The cluster includes farmers from Aduku Town Council, Aduku Sub-County, Inomo Town Council, and Inomo Sub-County, all in Kwania North Constituency.
The group also includes other stakeholders such as agro-input dealers, produce dealers, buyers, PDM SACCO leaders, processors, local seed businesses, tractor hire services, and financial institutions.
Solomon Okino, the National Oil Seed Project [NOSP] Coordinator for Lango and Teso sub-regions said the formation of the cluster is based on the findings that many oil seed actors are facing a lot of challenges that need collective solutions.
“We had to form this cluster basing on the background that after doing the value chain mapping and assessment, we got a lot of challenges that are coming from value chain actors, and all these challenges needed our joint interventions. We thought we can start solving these challenges when we come together as different teams, different chain actors along the oil seed value chain,” Okino said.
Okino said that the farmers in the cluster shall be able to solve their own problems without reaching out for external help unless the magnitude of the issue is big.
He added that the cluster will help create good relations between the different actors participating in the production of oil seed products.
“I know they will be able to address their challenges unless the problem is big that needs the intervention of the district authorities, in this, we are able to create linkages, collaborate with one another,” he said.
Emmanuel Ogwal, the Senior Agricultural Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MIAAF] said group farming approach is essential in the production of oil seed products.
Ogwal said that group farming approach enables farmers to access markets of the agricultural priduce easily, and boost their bargaining power among others.
“Group is a good approach that has many advantages, a stronger group builds a lot of trust within farmers, it’s an entry point for a sustained research in the value chain, reliable outputs, group concept and formation would be key in sustaining this production today and for tomorrow,” said Ogwal.
Meanwhile Paskweli Obutu, the Chairperson-elect of Kwania North Cluster called upon the members to cooperate with one another in growing oil seeds so that the level of income can increase and livelihoods get boosted.
“This is the time when we have got to wake up in producing oil crops. Oil crops are high paying, I argue all my members to work together. As we work together we are in a position to accomplish our goals. As we produce, we are targeting getting enough money so that we reinvest,” said Obutu.
Obutu said the challenge of price fluctuations will be addressed since they are are now under one umbrella.
He added: “The challenges we have been getting are uncertified seeds and the available certified seeds are not enough for our farmers. It will now be easier for us to bulk our harvest and market it at a better price.”
Susan Atyang, a member of the cluster as well as a resident of Ogobi village in Aduku Town Council said the challenges of uncertified seeds will now be addressed because the cluster also has input dealers.
“It is my first time being in a group like this and it is going to help us because we shall get prior knowledge, good planting materials, pesticides, and fertilisers to improve our farming. We will also be able to process small loans to helps us when we are stuck,” she said.
Betty Acio, the Kwania District Agricultural Officer said they will ensure that the project is successful.
She also appealed to NOSP to continue giving relevant support to the farmers. “We have embraced the oil seed project in Kwania, we now call upon National Oil Seed Project to continue giving us support, we promise to make sure this project is a success in our district,” she said.
Oil seeds that the farmers in Kwania district grow are sunflower, groundnuts, simsim and soybeans.
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