Mwanza, Tanzania 8th February 2020. Construction of new state-of-the-art ferry for Oil Palm Growing groups under the Vegetable Oil Development Project and National Oil Palm Development Project kick-started in Mwanza, Tanzania.
The keel laying ceremony (equivalent of groundbreaking for buildings) was undertaken by Hon. Henry Aggrey Bagiire the Minister of State for Agriculture who was accompanied by Mr. Pius Wakabi Kasajja the Permanent Secretary and Ms. Connie Magomu Masaba the Project Manager for the Vegetable Oil Development Project which is transitioning into the National Oil Palm Development Project.
The project is implemented through a Public Private Producer Partnership between the Government of Uganda, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, organized groups of farmers and processors of agricultural produce.
Productive regional collaboration
During the keel laying ceremony, Hon. Bagiire delivered a message of appreciation of the collaboration between Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
“As East Africans, we are proud to be associated with Tanzania and to be part of the East African Community. It is my great honor and pleasure to be part of this ferry keel laying ceremony today. Allow me to thank the organizers of this ceremony, the governments of Tanzania and Uganda for inviting me and my Ministry to witness the official kick start of this project,” he said while opening the ceremony.
Importance of the intervention
As highlighted by the Minister of State for Agriculture, transport is one of the key players in the development of any country and especially the agricultural sector.
Efficient and effective transportation enables farmers to access inputs and market their produce.
improvement in transport infrastructure and means also reduces the level of Postharvest losses which are as high as 35% percent in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
One of the major contributors to these high losses is poor transportation.
Water transport opportunities for sector development
About 241,038 square kilometers of Uganda’s total land area is covered by swamps, lakes and rivers, most of which are navigable. Almost all of Uganda’s water resources are Trans-boundary in nature and shared with her neighbors such as Kenya and Tanzania (Lake Victoria) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Lake Albert and Edward). Water transport is therefore used to transport communities living in the Islands, across the lakes, tourists and goods.
The Government operates ferry services as a continuation of the national roads across points on rivers and lakes where it would be uneconomical to build bridges. These ferry services are important for linking parts of the country to the capital, regional centers and communities.
The internal water transport has the following uses:
It provides low cost access to the islands
Remote shorelines on lakes can be easily reached
It connects villages along the banks of rivers which cannot be crossed by road.
While water transport is supposed one of the safest and cheapest, it requires investment in the right vessels and infrastructure in order to benefit from these advantages
Government of Uganda is paying attention to water transport and connectivity of the islands and areas that can easily be connected via water, to reduce on the cost movement via roads and also cause the required development on the islands.
The introduction of this additional ferry is important and is part of the efforts of government in improving transport to support the oil palm growing areas of Buvuma Island via the Kiyindi – Buvuma route.
The works commenced on 24th June 2019 with s design of the ferry and should be completed by December 2020.
The supervision of the ferry design and construction works is undertaken by Bureau Veritas (BU), who are among the best marine surveyors and members of the International Association of Classification Societies.
They are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the ferry is built to class as per the IACS rules and the International Marine Organization (IMO) regulations.
A Contract Management Team was also set up, comprising of seven engineers/officers selected from MAAIF/NOPP, MOWT, UNRA, Buvuma and Kalangala districts. This team is charged with the responsibility of administering the contract and working closely with the supervising surveyors to ensure that the ferry meets the clients’ requirements. They will therefore work with Songoro Marines to ensure that the technical specifications for the vessel are adhered to and the value for money is realized.
The scope of the works includes design, construction and delivery of a self-propelled mono-hull ferry built in welded steel as a double ended roll on roll off vessel. The capacity of the ferry is 300 passengers seated with a vehicle carrying area of 280 square metre capacity of carrying 20 cars. The ferry is to be propelled by four engines each with a power of 254 kilowatts and instruments and safety equipment.
The progress of works is at a stage where the general arrangement (GA) drawings are completed and approved by BU (the Supervising Surveyors) for the construction to commence.
As highlighted by the Minister, the collaboration between Uganda and Tanzania on the construction of this ferry is a sign of developmental regional partnerships and integration.
I am glad to note that the East African Community has capacity to compete for and win tenders for undertaking such big and technical activities like building ferries. This should result in more cost effective vessels and should make it easier for countries in the region to secure high quality vessels and overcome accidents on the lakes and rivers. When we buy East Africa, we build East Africa. Inter trade will cement our relations as a people, as East Africans.Hon. Aggrey Bagiire, Minister of State for Agriculture.
Notes for editors
About the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is a Ministry in the Government of Uganda charged with creating an enabling environment in the Agricultural Sector.
The Ministry formulates, reviews and implement national policies, plans, strategies, regulations and standards and enforce laws, regulations and standards along the value chain of crops, livestock and fisheries.
Vision: A competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector.
Mission: To transform subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.
- To initiate the formulation and review of the policy and legal framework for the sector
- To establish and implement systems for service provision in the sector
- To strengthen and implement strategies, regulatory framework, standards, institutional structures and infrastructure for quality assurance and increased quantities of agricultural products to access and sustain local, regional and export markets
- To design and implement sustainable capacity building programmes for stakeholders in the agricultural sector through training, re-tooling, infrastructure, provision of logistics and ICT
- To develop strategies for sustainable food security
- To develop appropriate agricultural technologies for improved agricultural production, productivity and value addition through research
- To develop effective collaborative mechanisms with affiliated institutions and
- To take lead and establish a system and institutional framework for agricultural data collection, analyses, storage and dissemination to stakeholders including Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) is made up of four Directorates including the Directorate of Crop Resources, Directorate of Animal Resources, Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services and the Directorate of Fisheries Resources each with Departments, Divisions and Partnership Projects.
The Departments of the Ministry which do not fall directly in the above include the Department of Agricultural Planning and Development, the Human Resource Department, the Department of Finance and Administration and the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production.
The Ministry is also made up of seven Agencies including the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Cotton Development Organisation (CDO), Dairy Development Authority (DDA), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanosomiasis in Uganda (COCTU) and the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Databank (NAGRC&DB).