President Yoweri Museveni has said that it is unattainable and out-fashioned for farmers in Uganda to continue practicing agriculture purely relying on natural factors. He noted that modern farming demands that humanity must tame nature and preserve water at all times both for their animals and for irrigation to ensure growth of pasture and other food stuff as well as their preservation so as to guarantee the feeding of their stock irrespective of the changing climate.
The President made the observations yesterday at Mbarara Stock Farm in Mbarara Municipality where he handed over 40 agricultural tractors to 300 cluster farmers from the districts of Lyantonde, Kiruhuura, Ibanda, Mitooma, Sheema, Mbarara, Isingiro, Bushenyi and Ntungamo.
The tractors have been procured and freely given to the farmers by the National Resistance Movement Government through the National Agricultural and Advisory Services (NAADS) programme.
Mr. Museveni called on the farmers, the majority of whom are in the dairy sector, to make good use of the tractors and grow pasture for their animals, preserve it for their animals instead of abandoning the animals to the mercy of the natural factors of rain or drought.
“You need to grow and preserve food for your animals just like you do for yourselves. That is when your farming will be meaningful and get you out of poverty. It is a shame that in Uganda there are still people leading nomadic life just running around looking for pasture and water yet both can be permanently harnessed and preserved in one place. I think nomadism is an act of backwardness,” he said.
Commenting on the changing climate and its effects on agriculture, the President appealed to Ugandans who have encroached on the swamps and forest reserves for to carry out agriculture and settle there, to leave them peacefully for the good of the country.
“Please leave our water catchment areas peacefully. If we find that you were misled, we shall find a way of compensating you,” he said.
Regarding the reported low farm-gate prices for milk offered to Uganda farmers, the President said that Uganda today produces more milk than citizens can consume. He said that because of this increased milk production, the country has to rely on the international market to consume the surplus milk, which drives the price of Ugandan milk to be determined by the forces of demand and supply at the level of international market. He, therefore, tasked the Dairy Development Authority to establish the competitive price that Ugandan milk can fetch on the international market. He urged the Dairy Development Authority to explain this fact to farmers.
On the poor and adulterated animal acaricides and pesticides on the Ugandan market, President Museveni said it was wrong for government to liberalise the trade in drugs be it for human beings or animals. He, therefore, disclosed that in the new policy, the procurement and regulation of drugs will be a duty of the government.
He warned those who have encroached on government land, in particular the Mbarara Stock Farm land, to vacate it immediately.
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, called on the farmers who have benefited from the tractor scheme, to ensure that they are put to the right use they are meant to do. He reminded them that the tractors can be recalled on grounds of misuse. He announced that his ministry, through NAADS, is procuring 168 more tractors that will be given to many other farmers in the country.
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