The government through the National Agricultural Advisory Services has allocated three more billion shillings to Acholi Bur Cooperatives for cassava production.
The NAADS Executive General Samuel Mugasi disclosed on Thursday in an interview with the Uganda Radio Network that the money is meant to support the distribution of the cassava cuttings to the farmers.
He however revealed that the government has already spent 8 billion to support the cassava production pilot study at Acholi Bur in Pader District in the last four years of operation.
He explained that 2 billion was spent in the first year of the production in 2018, 3 billion in 2019 and another 3 billion in 2020 with 3 more billion allocated in 2021. The cooperative society which was established by the Catholic Church in the Arch Diocese of Northern Uganda aimed at commercialization and industrialization of cassava production.
Fr. Mathew Lagoro Okun revealed that the cooperatives have attracted 10,000 members whose livelihoods have fairly improved with the commercialization of the cassava in the region.
“There is a need to refocus on the resilience of the people rather than the pain they went through so that we may recover from the dark history,“ Fr. Lagoro explained.
He asked the government to speed up the process of establishing the cassava processing plant in the region to improve on value addition.
His Grace John Baptist Odama has for his part asked the government to invest in farming in Northern Uganda to address the high poverty levels in the region.
“The 68% poverty in the region is high and the government needs to prioritize support to farmers through industrialization and commercialization,” Bishop Odama explained.
Toni Ocan, a member of the Cooperative says he was able to acquire his own motorcycle and established a salon from savings after he dropped out of school in Senior One over resource constraint.
Another cooperator Lyndro Odong, a Chairperson Pajule- Paiula Cooperative with 60 members says the group had planted about 300 hectares of cassava but noted with concern the limited market.
The Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries Frank Tummabase told the Uganda Radio Network that the Ministry is focusing on the bottom up approaches for poverty eradication.
He revealed that the Ministry has started profiling the different parts of the country for crop enterprise selection adding that the Industry will be soon established in Acholi Bur in Pader for cassava processing.
“It isn’t going to be a Ministry established in Kampala but rather the Ministry in the field and now we need to change from sensational but choose what works for us,” Tumbabaze added.
He revealed that only 35% of the 82% of Uganda’s arable land is being utilized due to limited support to the farmers which he says has hindered the country for achieving its economic potential.
He however revealed that the Ministry has completed its one week tour in Eastern and Northern Uganda on Thursday to engage with the stakeholders to design strategy in achieving commercialization of farming in the region. URN