By Joshua Besigye
The setting at the Source of the Nile Jinja show grounds where the Uganda National Farmers’ Federation (UNFFE) holds the annual National Agricultural show tell that this year’s event is no doubt going to be the biggest agricultural exhibition Uganda has seen. It has become tradition that, Jinja town is a much busier town in July every year than usual. This year’s agricultural show will be the 26th and it is slated to take place from 13th to 22nd July under the theme; “Fostering Agricultural Value Chains, Innovation for Farmer led food Security, Household Income and Job Creation.
The challenge with Uganda’s agriculture is competitiveness. Uganda’s agriculture does not have a competitive advantage over others due to production of less quantity to meet the outside demand and leave enough for domestic consumption and production of ‘not good enough’ quality to compete with in the globalized agricultural value chains.
This years’ show will therefore focus more on irrigation technologies, value addition, and livestock. The theme brings out the opportunity that aims at preparing and organizing the small holder farmers to competitively produce and be integrated into agricultural value chains. This stresses the fact that this year, UNFFE is going to address the issue of Value Addition.
Speaking at the Launch of this show at the UNFFE Secretariat recently, Dr. Beatrice Byarugaba the Director Extension services, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries confirmed that this years’ theme is in line with the emerging challenges facing the agricultural sector. Beatrice was representing the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries; Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempija who noted that the agriculture sector is currently struggling with lack of value addition to create adequate employment for the unemployed youths.
Through his representative, the Minister further added that the industry is witnessing the emergency of modern agricultural value chain, increasingly delivering value added agriculture products and services at the expense of smallholder farmers most especially from developing countries. He therefore encouraged the show-goers to take keen interest and learn the different improved technologies that shall be exhibited, noting that Ugandan agricultural commodities enjoy a huge domestic and regional demand.
This year’s agricultural show will be different;
Besides the exhibitions, there will be training. Augustine Mwendya, Chief Executive Officer, UNFFE explained that unlike in the past where there has been only demonstration and exhibition by farmers, this year, training has been organized to enable show-goers who need more knowledge on specific enterprises to get it so that they can commercialize their farming. Farmers will be trained in; piggery production, banana production, coffee production, pineapple production and others. The training is scheduled to begin on Monday, 16th July.
Secondly, this year, there will be debates for school going children and students at the start of the show under the show theme. These debates will improve the participants’ knowledge in modern agricultural methods.
The National Agricultural Show is expected to be officially opened by the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni next week on Tuesday, 17th July, 2018.
BY JOSH BWIRE