An expert in the tourism sector has called for joint efforts between government, agribusiness and tourism players to promote agro tourism.
The move, according to experts, will not only earn the country foreign exchange but will help farmers earn from farming beyond actual crop sales as well as increase the number of visitors to Uganda through creation of another tourism package.
The call was made by Mr Joseph Taremwa Ruhakana, the Agro-Tourism Association chief executive officer, a organisation that works with close to 70 farms across the country.
Mr Ruhakana said tourism doesn’t only mean game parks, historical sites, lakes and rivers, but includes farming of all kinds of crops, agro-processing, traditional food and the daily life of the rural people, as well as cultural traditions.
“When promoted, it will provide on-site employment, promote diversification on farms for farmers to increase revenues, act as an educational tool, increases demand for farm products, fosters agricultural marketing and create value-added and direct-marketing opportunities,” he said.
It will also boast Uganda’s earnings from the tourism sector that is recovering from Covid-19 related disruptions.
The call comes at a time when government is seeking ways through which it can increase tourism package as well as grow local tourism.
Government had been seeking to achieve four million tourists by 2022. However, Covid-19 related disruptions are expected to be a stumbling block in achieving this agenda, whose deadline is only one year away.
This, as a result, has forced government to build partnerships with various stakeholders as it seeks to attract new numbers.
Commenting on the call, Ms Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board executive director, said promoting tourism together with agriculture presents an opportunity to increase farmers’ incomes as well as bring in money for the country as well as creating employment.
However, Mr Ruhakana noted promotion of agro-tourism had been left to the private sector with little government input.