Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has assured farmers in West Nile districts of Pakwach and Nebbi that government is going to inject more money in value addition purposely to create employment for youths. The minister was touring the region to assess the progress of farmers supported by the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP).
Implementation of ACDP in West Nile started in 2016 and more than 6,000 farmers have benefitted through grants, skilling workshops and provision of mechanised farming equipment to communities as well as the E-voucher system. The strategic crops for the cluster are mainly cassava and coffee and already, about 500 farmer organizations have accessed grants worth more than Shs 1.5 billion.
The farmers decried the limited access to tractor hire services and low literacy levels in the communities for hampering the progress of the cluster. It was therefore recommended that tractor operators should be encouraged in the district to meet overwhelming demand from farmers and that the ACDP secretariat should release funds timely for operations to enable smooth operations.
The farmers also requested government to help them with irrigation systems for them to continuously produce food. They reported to him some the challenge of land grabbers, who invade their land to graze livestock. In response, Ssempijja promised to table their concerns before cabinet and encouraged farmers to form farmer groups in order to be able to get support from government.