BoU governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile
The value added by the agricultural sector had shrunk from 49% in 1991 to 24% in 2018,
Uganda’s economy could implode unless the government and the private sector carve out meaningful jobs for the country’s bustling youthful population.
Over 70% of Uganda’s 40 million population is under 30 years, with many currently unemployed.
Speaking at the annual Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) at Serena Hotel on Tuesday, Prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, the Governor Bank of Uganda warned that the population is set to hit 102 million in 2050 and 203 by 2100.
Urging government and the private sector players, especially commercial banks to avail low-interest credit facilities to farmers, the governor said: “focus attention on the potential role that finance could play in leveraging finance to defuse the demographic time bomb if Uganda doesn’t produce jobs for the youth.”
Mutebile added that 68% of the country’s populace, currently trapped in traditional and subsistence farming, need the help of all stakeholders, including commercial banks, to transform into modern and commercial farmers.
The governor noted that value added by the agricultural sector had shrunk from 49% in 1991 to 24% in 2018.
Mutebile, however, noted that despite that drop, the percentage of Ugandans employed in the sector had remained almost unchanged from 74% of the total population in 1991 to 71% in 2018.
He said that the formal sector is unlikely to provide employment for the youth, urging the government and the private sector to focus on export-oriented manufacturing and agro-processing to quench the rising demand for food, create jobs and reduce Uganda’s import bill.
Matia Kasaija who represented the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda commended the media for marketing agriculture to the youth and noted that there is a need to strengthen agricultural institutions to spearhead the adoption of modern technology.
He said that the Uganda Development Bank had been allocated sh103.3b to provide low-cost financing to the sector, he noted that the government aims to recapitalize the bank with sh500b. Kasaija urged commercial banks to lend to the sector at affordable rates.
“China is open for agricultural products from Uganda. However, they need quality products and reliable supply,” he said.
Patrick Mweheire, the Stanbic bank CEO and UBA president said that public and private cooperation is needed to bring down the level of non-performing loans in the agricultural sector from 10% of all loans which is higher than the average of 3% for all loans.
Marianne Shoemaker, the Chief Executive Officer of Rabo Bank, who gave a keynote address on de-risking financing and investment in agriculture, urged the government to promote cooperatives and partnering with a bank to ensure easy access of finance to banks.
Anti-tick vaccine drive gives hope to farmers
Dairy farmers in Ankole Sub-region are optimistic that the anti-tick vaccine launched by the government will solve their problem of tick resistance to acaricides.
For the last 10 years, dairy farmers across the country have decried tick resistance to acaricides, which has been ravaging the livestock sector.
Mr Emmanuel Kyeishe, a resident of Rushere in Kiruhura District and dairy farmer with more than 100 head of cattle, says dairy farmers in the cattle corridor have battled the problem of tick resistance for a long time.
“The issue of ticks has been rampant in the cattle corridor to the extent of losing our cows. We spend a lot on treating them because of ticks since they infect animals with several diseases,” he said.
Mr Kyeishe said he loses at least two cows every month to tick-borne diseases like East Coast Fever and heart water.
“I have lost 180 cows in the last five years due to ticks and tick-borne diseases. If they do not die, they get blind and some lose their skin. But if we get a vaccine, it will have saved us a lot,” he said.
Mr Kyeishe added that he has resorted to mixing agrochemicals with acaricides since the available ones on the market are failing.
Mr Jackson Bells Katongole, a dairy farmer in Kashari, Mbarara District, said if the government’s move to have anti-tick vaccine is successful, quality of dairy products would improve.
“A farmer loses at least two to five cows every month and we have resorted to using different concoctions from Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya because the problem of ticks has made us helpless,” he said.
He added: “We had reached the point of mixing pesticides with acaricides because of tick resistance and in the process our cows have gone blind, lost skin and others died.”
Mr Katongole further said each cow that dies is valued at around Shs2.5 million, which means that a farmer loses Shs5 million every month.
The Mbarara City Veterinary Officer, Dr Andrew Akashaba, said in Mbarara alone, there are about 60,000 head of cattle, mostly exotic breeds which are prone to ticks.
“Most of the exotic breeds of cattle are at a high risk of acquiring ticks and tick borne diseases, which are a major hindrance to livestock development in the cattle corridor,” he said.
Mr Akashaba added that between 2,000 and 3,000 cows die annually in Mbarara alone due to tick-related diseases.
While launching the final clinical trial of anti-tick vaccine manufactured by National Agriculture Research Organisation at Mbarara Zardi on Thursday, the deputy director general and research coordinator, Dr Yona Baguma, assured the farmers that once the vaccine is approved, they will be spraying their cattle against ticks twice in six months as opposed to twice a week.
Original source: Monitor
Farmers fail to access farm inputs on Ministry e-platform
About 3,640 model farmers in Nebbi District, who were registered under the Agricultural Cluster Development Programme (ACDP) to access agricultural inputs on E-voucher, are stuck after failure of the system.
The farmers say the system has affected their planting patterns.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture cluster Development Programme (ACDP) introduced the e-voucher system five years ago to enable farmers access agricultural inputs electronically.
Farmers on alert as new banana virus hits Western Uganda
Farmers should stop getting banana plantlets from districts in Western and North-West Uganda to stop the spread of the Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) disease, Hebert Musiimenta, the Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF has advised.
The Banana Bunchy Top Virus was first observed in the western Uganda districts in late 2020. In July this year, the ministry raised a red flag when the disease caused havoc on banana plantations in West Nile, Rwenzori and Tooro regions.
An infected plant presents with severe stunting, narrow leaves, chlorotic leaf margins, and dark green streaks on petioles and midribs. The affected plant also shows a rosette-like or bunchy and choked appearance. Diseased plants rarely produce fruit and when they do, the fruit is stunted and twisted.
The disease is spread by aphids and the planting of affected tubers.
The disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.
Hebert Musiimenta, Principal Agricultural Inspector in the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), says to contain the spread of the disease, farmers should stop getting banana planting materials from Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, and Koboko districts in North-West Uganda and Bunyangabu, Kasese, Kabarore, and Bundibugyo districts in Western Uganda.
He also advises the farmers to be cautious about planting materials from Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo, and Isingiro districts since they are near the border. The disease is suspected to have spread to Uganda from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Musiimenta advised farmers in an interview with URN that if they are to pick planting materials, they should first consult agriculture officers in their areas to recommend safe planting materials.
Musimenta revealed that a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries, and Fisheries is investigating the prevalence of the virus in Kigezi region specifically districts neighboring Rwanda and DR Congo.
He says the disease has the capacity to wipe out banana gardens within 3 to 5 years unless farmers practice the control measures such as the proper destruction of affected stems, control of aphids, and planting clean materials.
Original Source: URN via The independent
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