The Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and MP for Mwenge County Central Tom Butime encouraged Ugandans to grow Hass avocado and Macadamia, citing the ready market the crops have.
Minister Butime was speaking during a stakeholders meeting held in Kyenjojo district to review and plan on how to ramp up production of the two high-value crops.
The meeting, which was organised by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), took place at Njojo Farm in Kyenjojo district and was attended by ministers, MPs leaders from District Local Government in Rwenzori region and farmers from across the country.
Through NAADS, the government eyes scaling the growth of emerging high-value strategic commodities like the ones mentioned above.
MP and member of the Budget Committee Ignatius Wamakuyu said parliament is committed to supporting the growth of the two high-value crops adding that he was going to table a proposal to increase taxes on imported edible oils in order to promote the local production of vegetable oils.
NAADS Executive Director Dr. Samuel Mugasi said the government started injecting funds into the growth of these crops last year, starting with the distribution of 103,362 Hass avocado seedlings and 29,234 macadamia seedlings in 42 implementing districts under a co-funding arrangement.
In this arrangement, NAADS pays for 70% of the cost of the seedling while the remaining 30% is paid by the farmer. “The co-funding approach is not new in the implementation of government programmes. In our previous interventions, we were giving planting materials free of charge to farmers, however, most farmers never valued these materials and left them to go to waste,” said Dr. Mugasi.
“We have learnt from this past experience and in order to have a sustainable intervention, farmers need to own the programme by contributing a percentage on the cost of the seedlings.” Maj. Gen. Robert Rusoke, who is one of the nucleus farmers working with NAADS, said the co-funding approach is good because offering them for free would make the farmers reluctant yet Macadamia and Hass Avocado are high-value crops.
Gen. Rusoke noted the crops have a ready market that starts with Ugandans. He sold 20 tons in the previous season to the Kenyan market. The State Minister for Agriculture Fred Bwino Kyakulaga said that Hass Avocado and macadamia have the potential to increase the revenue of Ugandans on both the local and international markets.