Monitor Farm Clinic helping farmers network

Thursday May 17 2018

Monitor Farm Clinic helping farmers network

Benefits. Prof Ssettumba Mukasa teaches about banana growing to participants at the Monitor Farm Clinic in Mbarara last year. PHOTO BY ALEX ESAGALA 

By Alfred Tumushabe

Kampala. An avenue for networking is how Mr Asaph Mugizi best describes his experience of Monitor farm clinics.
The chairman Board of Directors Uganda Banana Producers Cooperative Union attended last year’s farm clinic at Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MBAZARDI).
“It was not going to be possible for an individual farmer to have that opportunity if there was no farm clinic. It gave me a chance to network on a free platform. We established contacts and shared a lot. That encounter helped in improving our farming practices,” Mr Mugizi says.

He interacted with banana farmers and learnt how they were dealing with pests and diseases such as the banana bacterial wilt. He also had the opportunity to meet agriculture experts, farmers and input dealers.
In regards to best practices, Mr Mugizi reveals that at the clinic, he learnt how to retain water in his plantation.

“I learnt about water management. I was taught how to retain water in my banana planation. I have been containing run off within the planation, which has boosted production. I am harvesting more bananas and of bigger size than ever before,” he says. “There are fake agro products on the market but we met genuine agro input dealers and they gave us a lot of useful information. As a banana and fruit farmer, I had a challenge of fungal attacks. I was able to identify good dealers supplying good fungicide.”
As the Seeds of Gold team prepares to host another clinic at MBAZARDI come May 26, farmers such as Mr Mugizi are looking forward to enriching their experiences.

“We expect to get knowledge on marketing bananas and look forward to meeting those who can help us secure good market in the East African region. We are producing but it is also time for marketing. We want to eliminate middle men. We want the farmer to meet the consumer. The middle man takes much from both the farmer and consumer. We are also concerned about quality of bananas sold to the final consumer,” says Mr Mugizi.
Among the enterprises to be tackled by different experts are banana, diary, passion fruits, cassava, beans, maize and mangoes. Entrance is free.
The farm clinic will be held under the theme, ‘Climate Smart Farming.’