Uganda can increase its current agricultural productivity by many times over with fertile land and variety of crops that it has.
“With advanced technology, the right policies and a bigger budget, agricultural productivity can increase five to 10 times from the current,” said Dr Jee Hyeong –Jin, who heads the National Farmers Leadership Centre.
And it is against this backdrop, Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica) has been training rural farmers in ways to increase their household incomes.
“About 900 rural farmers in different parts of the country have been trained and 1,200-1,300 are still undergoing training before the programme ends next year,” he added.
He was speaking a seminar held in Kampala on Monday, which focused on agricultural development and mind-set change model.
Referring to South Korea’s experience, Dr Jee said it has a smaller land size for agriculture than Uganda’s but it is one of the leading producers of agricultural products in the world. This is due to training of farmers and use of technology.
In his remarks, the South Korean ambassador to Uganda, Park Jong Dae said there is a huge opportunity for agricultural development in Uganda especially in the rural areas.
“Agriculture is very important to economic development, South Korea managed to develop its agriculture and Uganda can do the same.”
While addressing the seminar, the Local Government minister Tom Butime said the programmes that government came up have worked although there some weaknesses.
He mentioned Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) as some of those although there were challenges in implementation in the districts.
“All these are efforts by government trying solve challenges in Uganda. They have not failed completely as some may say,” he said in response to some of the comments by participants at the seminar.
Butime said Uganda has a political system to implement government programmes and as such those geared towards agriculture cannot totally fail.
He expressed optimism that Operation Wealth Creation will do better that Naads in developing agricultural sector.