The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has called upon farmers in the Acholi sub-region to embrace macadamia farming as a game changer that will transform their communities and deliver them from poverty.
The State Minister for Agriculture Fred Bwino Kyakulaga met leaders and farmers in Agago district to sensitise them on the growing of macadamia in Acholi subregion.
The event was coordinated by the Chief Justice of Uganda Alfonse Owiny-Dollo.
In partnership with Make Acholi Green Again (MAGRA), Owiny-Dollo launched a campaign to transform Acholi sub-region through the growing of macadamia, a tree he has code-named the ‘money tree’.
The mobilisation started with three groups of farmers and leaders in the target sub-counties of Lira-Palwo, Agago and Adilang.
Owiny-Dollo said the campaign to grow macadamia is aimed at transforming the vast land in Acholi into what could yield income for all categories of farmers in a sustainable manner.
Minister Bwino said his ministry through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) will support farmers in the region with 30,000 macadamia seedlings this financial year and additional seedlings in the subsequent years until all households are covered.
“In addition to providing the planting materials for macadamia, the Ministry of Agriculture will train the volunteer coordinators for macadamia based on their priority needs,” he said.
On the issue of market access for the macadamia, Bwino said his ministry will identify and engage a large-scale/nucleus farmer, and once identified, Government will build the capacity of the nucleus farmer to aggregate farmers’ produce and add value in preparation for the export market. He said the global demand for macadamia is still huge.
The Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi committed to working closely with the Chief Justice and the Ministry of Agriculture to promote the highly valued macadamia value chain.
He said the region needs to have a perennial crop as a fall-back for the smallholder farmers. Dr. Mugasi said the region has a lot of potential for growing macadamia but also other crops like Hass avocado and cashew nuts.
He urged both the leaders and farmers in the region not to disappoint the Chief Justice but rather take his advice on how to improve the livelihoods of the people of the Acholi sub-region.
The Government of Uganda has identified the production of Hass Avocado and Macadamia as priority interventions with enormous potential to contribute to the agricultural sector growth.
Despite the existing potential for production, the commercial supply of Hass avocado and Macadamia is still minimal.
Macadamia and Hass Avocado are currently some of the most highly demanded commodities in a world market whose sensitivity to quality parameters is very high, the promotion of these commodities, therefore, requires a model that enables traceability and achievement of high-quality standards at each segment of the respective value chain.
The Ministry of Agriculture has adopted the Nucleus Farmer model for the promotion of high value nontraditional agricultural export commodities.
The Nucleus Farmer model has the potential to ensure the provision of knowledge and skills to farmers within appropriate institutional arrangements for the production and marketing of quality produce/products for the respective value chains.
The nucleus farmer model, therefore, presents a big opportunity to promote the development of Macadamia and Hass avocado production in Uganda.