Uganda joined the rest of the World to celebrate the World Food Day on the October 16, 2018.
However, farmers in Uganda under our umbrella Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF Uganda) are demanding government to subsidize agricultural mechanization machines to make them affordable to small scale farmers.
ESAFF Uganda chairperson, Hakim Baliraine said that the current market prices for some agricultural machines such as tractors are too expensive especially for small holder farmers yet they are the majority stakeholders in the agriculture sector
“The cost of production is high because of using traditional rudimentary tools; therefore, government should come in to ensure that we farmers can access modern farming tools such walking tractors, oxen plow and other machines. This will lower the cost of production in the agricultural sector thus enhance agricultural production which will make Uganda food secure,” he said.
However, a senior Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, who spoke to Business Focus on condition of anonymity, said Government can only support farmers to acquire agricultural machines when they are organized.
“The challenge in the sector is that most farmers are operating at individual basis which makes it very difficult to support such them. Let them form farming groups that is when government will respond easily to their plight,” the official said.
Farmers say apart from subsidizing mechanization tools, the government should also work on the issue of women owning land, arguing that although majority of Ugandan women have access to land for subsistence farming, they don’t have ownership rights.
“The more women have equal rights on land, Uganda’s agricultural sector will grow at a high rate since women contribute much in the sector,” Baliraine added.
Every year, on the 16th October, World Food Day is celebrated around the world to help raise awareness on issues concerning hunger, poverty and malnutrition, and to strengthen the political will to take action.
The focus of the day is that food is a basic and fundamental human right. Yet in a world of billions, 805 million people worldwide live with chronic hunger, 60% of women and almost 5 million children under the age of five die of malnutrition- related causes every day. Extreme hunger and malnutrition unavoidably create barrier to sustainable development, since many people become unproductive, more prone to diseases thus unable to improve their livelihoods,
This year’s theme of “A Zero hunger world by 2030 is possible” was derived from pillar 2 of the sustainable development goals of ‘Zero hunger” which aims at ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. The main target to reach this goal is to increase the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small scale food producers in particular women and the grass root people
Speaking at the same event, Beti Aguti, the Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Caritas Uganda called on Government to ensure that farmers have access to affordable irrigation technologies.
She noted that over depending on rain water is becoming big challenge to farmers especially in the water stressed regions.
This will support farmers to grow more food for both domestic consumption and export, she said.