The Minister of Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze urged the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to support the ministry’s new five-year sector plan and agenda.
Minister Tumwebaze made the remarks during a Tuesday collaborative meeting with the FAO team led by Dr Antonio Querido and Priya Gujadhur, FAO country representative and deputy respectively at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF) headquarters in Entebbe.
In the meeting, the FAO team briefed the new sector Minister on the interventions that have been undertaken by FAO in the sector, highlighting successes as well.
Tumwebaze said the ministry is working towards fulling President Museveni’s two major policy directives of turning farming into a commercial sector as well as promoting agro-industrialization.
“He [The president] doesn’t want farmers to work for the stomach alone,” he said. “He wants them to get surplus for sale.”
To achieve this, the minister reasoned that farmers have to be linked to research, increase uptake for fertilizers, have proper guidance on enterprise selection as well as zoning, among other things.
On the aspect of agro-industrialization, Tumwebaze said the ministry is prioritizing to improve production and productivity, extension and creating markets, among others.
“We believe agro-industrialization can’t hang in the air. It has to be anchored by all of these,” he said.
“We are just using 35 percent of Uganda’s 82 percent of arable land; so, when you mechanize, you till more land and scale up production.”
He said efforts are underway to have at least 19 mechanization centers across Uganda in the next five years.
In response, the FAO team reiterated their support to Uganda to achieve its agenda through collaborative efforts between the government and the development partners community.
“In the agriculture sphere in the region, Uganda is a vital partner for FAO. We therefore look forward to working with you to influence matters and priority areas of concern,” Dr. Antonio Querido said.
Meanwhile, Bright Rwamirama, the state minister for Animal Industry, thanked FAO for its continuous support to the sector over the years. “You have been reliable partners and we owe you a lot of appreciation,” he said.