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Farmers should continue going to gardens – Minister

Farmers told to continue farming despite covid-19. Photo by EcoAgric Uganda

Kampala, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Farmers should not sit home because of the coronavirus lockdown but instead go-ahead to plant and tender to their gardens, Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja has said.

Ssempijja told reporters in Kampala that it was already a planting season and farmers should observe Ministry of Health guidelines to avoid the spread of covid-19 but still, go to gardens.

President Yoweri Museveni announced a partial lockdown, suspending public transport, closing bars, schools and churches. With the message of ‘stay at home’ playing on every media, Ssempijja said that this had been interpreted to mean even farmers should not go to the gardens.

He said food will still be needed during the lockdown, adding that farmers should grow and consume a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables to boost immunity to fight off the coronavirus.

Three quarters of Ugandans are in agriculture. It is one of the sectors expected to take a hit as governments lock cities that provide key demand to the sector.

Farmers’ interpretation of stay at home as not to go to gardens could also reduce production.

Julius Twinamatsiko, a commissioner at the Ministry of Agriculture, said nutrition should be key during this season and that mothers should endeavour to breast-feed their babies long enough.

Uganda has so far confirmed 30 cases of covid-19. Government has said Ugandans must wash hands with soap or sanitize. They should also avoid congested places.

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