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Agriculture minister laments agricultural problems

Minister Sempijja. File photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempija has lamented the myriad of challenges that face the agriculture sector. The minister under whose docket also falls Animal Industry and Fisheries reeled off problem after problem under his docket while commissioning the improved modern livestock market in Ongino sub county in Kumi district on Wednesday.

Ssempija said farmers are grappling with a host of challenges related to illnesses like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), an infectious viral disease that causes fever and blisters, largely in the mouth and feet of animals such as cattle.

The minister’s lamentations come at a time when most districts in Teso such as Katakwi, Ngora, Bukedea and Kumi have imposed cattle quarantine due to an outbreak of infectious mouth and foot disease.

According to the minister, the government must put efforts to support the breeding of better quality livestock varieties that are disease-resistant and high-yielding.

He said agriculture contributes about 23 percent to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product, with livestock alone accounting for about 8 percent of the GDP.

“We need to start looking at livestock and at farming in general as another source of employment which can come in handy to reduce the high unemployment rates in the country,” Ssempija said.

Ssempijja said that this project is under the regional pastoral livelihood project aimed at improving the livelihood among livestock farmers who are a majority in the regions of Teso and Karamoja.

Dr Michael Okwalinga, the district veterinary officer commended the government for the modern market infrastructure which he is optimistic will increase the revenue to the district.

Dr Edward Omaido the district coordinator for the regional pastoral livelihood project who coordinated the construction called on the public to embrace the market.

The community of Ongino also welcomed the market but they appeal to the authorities not to levy high taxes when the market opens after the coronavirus pandemic.

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