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Rwenzori farmers get modern implements to boost production

KABAROLE-  The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAIF] through National Advisory Agricultural Services [NAADS] has distributed modern agricultural equipment worth Shs 49 billion to farmers in Rwenzori Sub-region to boost agricultural production.

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze handed over the equipment and facilities during his recent visit to the region.

Farmers from the Rwenzori districts of Kyegegwa, Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Kitagwenda, Kyenjojo, and Kamwenge received the equipment, which included milk coolers, tractors, maize mills, rice mills and maize stores.

While handing over the agricultural equipment, Tumwebaze also commissioned agro-infrastructure to farmers under the Agro-Industrialization for Local Economic Development program [AGRI-LED].

AGRI-LED is a presidential initiative piloted in Rwenzori Sub-region to spur economic development in the region through agro-industrialization focusing on increased production, improved storage, value addition and marketing.

Tumwebaze said the equipment and infrastructure are meant to support large-scale farmers to improve on agricultural production.

“As government, we are also set to revamp all government farms to enable farmers get subsidised stock materials and have improved production,” Tumwebaze said.

He however cautioned the beneficiaries to ensure the good use of the equipment given to them, warning that whoever will be found misusing or underutilising the implements will be punished and the equipment given to serious farmers.

Grace Kazigati who represented the director NAADS told farmers that AGRILED is still going on and more people from Rwenzori will benefit from it.

She however appealed to farmers who received tractors to use them as per the guidelines for operating them.

“Since these projects were demanded and requested for by the farmers themselves, there is no reason why they should end up as white elephants as we have seen elsewhere,” she noted.

She expressed government’s commitment to continue providing technical support to the beneficiaries, and do regular supervision and monitoring to ensure value for money.

In the financial year 2019/20, Operation Wealth Creation [OWC] under the chief coordinator Gen.Salim Saleh pioneered the identification and prioritization of projects under AGRILED with Rwenzori as a pilot sub-region.

Implementation of the programme commenced in the FY 2020/21 when government released Shs 49bln to NAADS secretariat, the lead implementer of the programme under the ministry of local government.

The programme is being implemented in the 11 districts of Kasese, Bunyangabu, Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Fort Portal city, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, Kitagwenda and Kasese Municipality.

Of the Shs 49bln, NAADS secretariat procured 13 tractors, 12 milk coolers, seven maize mills and their structures, two feed mills and their structure, two mini dairy processing facilities, one rice mill and seven coffee hullers.

Under the same programme, NAADS will establish two irrigation schemes in Kamwenge and Kasese districts.

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