The ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries will dole out Shs60 billion to farmer organizations across the country so that they can start using improved methods of farming.
The project was launched Saturday by President Yoweri Museveni at the Namalere Agricultural Referral Mechanization center in Wakiso District.
At the same event, the president flagged off post-harvest and matching equipment, namely: rice mills; maize mills, generators, bean seed cleaners, coffee hullers, cassava processing equipment, dryers and among others.
These are to be delivered to 47 different project sites.
“This project is aimed at reminding farmers that agriculture is a business and they should earn from it, and it is just the beginning, we are going to do more for the farmers,” Museveni said at the function.
The project is part of the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP), which is being implemented in 57 districts grouped in 12 geographical clusters, with support from the World Bank, which has invested in $ 150 million.
Farmers that will benefit are those involved in growing and trading in five commodities, namely: maize, beans, cassava, rice and coffee.
The government prioritized these crops from among the priority commodities of the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan between the financial year 2015/16 and financial year 2019/20.
The implementation of this project is done through an inter-ministerial collaboration with the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of ICT, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
ACDP is designed to support the intensification of on-farm production through provision of subsidized inputs using an electronic voucher (e-voucher) system and improve value addition and market access through provision of matching grants for post-harvest and value addition facilities and also fixing road chokes.
It is also to help to strengthen policy and regulatory framework in input quality assurance.
Farmers are given matching grants of up to $75,000 to support 67% of required investments in acquiring postharvest and value addition infrastructure.
“This is meant to support farmers to undertake bulking, value addition and collective marketing of quality produce for better prices and thus realize better incomes,” officials say.
To date, the Ministry has signed grant agreements with 193 selected farmer organizations from 24 pilot districts. An additional 378 Farmer Organizations are being prepared for grant agreement signing.
Under the first batch, 118 grant agreements have been signed with a total grant amount of Shs34.8 billion. The government has contributed Shs23.5 billion and of this, Shs21.7 billion has been disbursed to 111 grantees as of September 30, 2020.
Over 90 construction sites for storage and machinery shelter have been completed and about 50 farmers' equipment (coffee hullers, rice/ maize milling machines, threshers, dryers, generators, bean cleaners) have been completed and are ready for delivery.
Under the second batch, 75 grant agreements have been signed with total grant value of Shs28 billion, where Government will contribute Shs18.1 billion and beneficiaries will contribute Shs9.2 billion.
The disbursement to these beneficiaries started this month. Under the third batch, the Grants Management Committee approved over 378 business plans. These are currently being assessed by the Ministry and grant award of about Shs42 billion will be award to selected beneficiaries.