Participants of Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic undergoing training on fish farming at Rwebitaba ZARDI in Fort Portal on Saturday. PHOTO | ALEX ASHABA

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Over 200 farmers reap from Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic 

What you need to know:

  • Mr Douglas Jjemba Mutebi, a crop agronomist for Rwebitaba ZARDI, taught farmers how to plant different bean varieties to get good yields during the harvesting season.
  • The Director of Research Rwebotaba ZARDI, Dr Robooni Tumuhimbise, said: “Farmers now know that before they use any technology on the farm, they need to first consult some experts if they want to improve on their production.” 

More than 200 farmers from Tooro Sub-region on Saturday went back home with lots of knowledge after receiving a free training on different farm enterprises aiming at improving agriculture production.

The farmers took part in the 24th edition of the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic at Rwebitaba ZARDI in Fort Portal tourism city. 

The clinic is organised by Nation Media Group Uganda and National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) sponsored by the Bank of Uganda, Stanbic Bank, NSSF and Zoetis.

The farmers were trained on how to plant different bean varieties for good harvests. They also went home with knowledge on fish farming, tea farming, and stingless honey bees farming.

Mr Douglas Jjemba Mutebi, a crop agronomist for Rwebitaba ZARDI, taught farmers how to plant different bean varieties to get good yields during the harvesting season.

He said beans have different varieties and the farmer needs to select what he or she should plant following recommendations from extension workers.

The Director of Research Rwebotaba ZARDI, Dr Robooni Tumuhimbise, said: “Farmers now know that before they use any technology on the farm, they need to first consult some experts if they want to improve on their production.” 

He said because of climatic change, some of the crop varieties are no longer on the market, but as research institutes, they developed new technologies which farmers need to embrace because they are resistant to different climatic conditions.

Mr Kenneth Kyamuresire, the chairperson of the advisory committee of Rwebitaba ZARDI, said the farm clinic in Tooro came at the right time.

“Farmers need to change their methods of farming because of increased climatic changes, you plant crops expecting rain and instead get a dry season. We need to embrace specific interventions for smart agriculture,” he said.

The head of Agriculture Credit Facility in Bank of Uganda, Mr Alex Lwanja, said farmers need to treat agriculture as a business and ensure that they get agricultural insurance.

“Farmers need to get agriculture insurance because they don’t know what can happen to their farms, we also want to help farmers get loans from banks to improve on their production. We can give them money to construct valley dams and do irrigation schemes on the farm,” he said.

He said the main objective of the Agriculture Credit Facility is to promote commercialisation of agriculture through provision of medium and long term financing to projects engaged in agriculture and Agro processing.

The chief guest, Bishop Reuben Kisembo of Ruwenzori Diocese (Anglican), said the farm clinic would help farmers grow a variety of crops that would increase food production and income generation.

He asked farmers to use technologies that are being developed by research institutes. “I want parents now to start teaching their children to get involved in agriculture when it’s still early. If they don’t learn now, in future they may start stealing other people’s produce and become criminals,” he said.

He also asked the government to provide a conducive environment to enable farmers plant and sell their produce.

The training was under the theme “Climate Smart Farming”.

Farmers speak out

Ms Rosette Kaija, a resident of Nyakasura in Kabarole District, said she was taught on how to feed the cows, and prepare silage on the farm.

“Now I know how to plant different grasses and when it is supposed to be harvested and how to feed the animal. We appreciate the organisers of the training,” she said.    

Col Steven Basaliza, a tea farmer from Kabarole, said: “I travelled today [Saturday] morning purposely for this training. I have been growing tea, but today I have got new knowledge. It’s today that I have come to know that before planting. I need to first test my soil.” Ms Moureen Kasiime from Kamwenge District said the training equipped her with skills on how to start fish farming.

“When I go back home, I will start fish farming because the knowledge I have acquired is enough. I know how to dig a fish pond, how to feed the fish and the time of harvest,” he said.

Mr Arthur Asaba, a resident of Kyenjojo District, said his interest was to learn about bee farming, especially the stingless bees. 

“I now know that stingless bees can be commercial and more important is that they are user friendly. I can become a bee farmer,” he said.  

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