Jinja: For nearly three decades, the source of the Nile show ground in Jinja city has been the venue for the National Agriculture Show, a platform that brings together local and international farmers to exchange knowledge and skills in the field of agriculture. The annual event draws thousands of participants, not only benefiting the agricultural sector but also boosting local businesses through increased spending on accommodation, food, and tourism in the Busoga region.
During the inauguration of the 29th Agriculture Show on Tuesday, farmers advocated for the regionalization of the event to accommodate farmers from far-flung areas. Dr. Dick Kamuganga, the president of the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE), highlighted the challenges faced by farmers from regions such as Lango, Acholi, and Rwenzori who incur significant transportation costs to attend the show in Jinja.
The opening ceremony was officiated by Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal, Industry, and Fisheries. He was represented by Paul Mwambu, the commissioner of crop production and expansion in the Ministry of Agriculture. Mwambu welcomed the move to regionalize the agricultural shows, stating that this step should have been taken earlier and expressing satisfaction that it’s now being implemented.
In his address, the minister commended the show as evidence of the ministry’s commitment to transforming Uganda’s agricultural landscape and promoting sustainable development. He emphasized that the initiative envisions a future where agro-industrialization becomes a driving force for economic growth, job creation, and food security.
Under the theme “Fostering Resilient Agricultural Value Chains to Drive Agro-industrialization,” the 10-day agriculture show began on Friday, August 4, and will conclude on August 13, 2023. The Minister highlighted the crucial role of resilient agricultural value chains in propelling Uganda’s potential towards greater prosperity, creating an ecosystem that supports the entire agricultural sector.
To achieve this resilience, the minister stressed the need for farmers to invest in modern agricultural technologies, adopt sustainable practices, and collaborate with both the public and private sectors. The government is committed to facilitating the transition towards agro-industrialization by implementing policies that promote investment, innovation, and infrastructure development. This includes support for agro-processing facilities and improved access to finance for small and medium enterprises.
The Minister also underscored the importance of promoting gender equality in the agricultural sector, recognizing the significant contributions of women in crop production, livestock management, and agro-business. The government is dedicated to providing women in agriculture with easier financial access and training, fostering an environment that encourages youth participation in the backbone of the country’s economy.
Furthermore, the Minister encouraged farmers to embrace Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which provides digital information, weather forecasts, and farming techniques to enable informed decision-making. ICT not only supports agro-processing and agro-business development but also connects farmers to broader markets, both locally and internationally.