Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Ministry has committed up to Shillings 3.7 billion to support Agro-processing and storage of produce in Masaka district. The money has been disbursed as a matching grant to sixteen farmers’ cooperatives in Masaka.
Some of the beneficiaries are West Buganda Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union, Kaka Farmers Association, Masaka District Farmers Association, Bugabira Farmers Group and Masaka Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative among others.
The money is expected to support the farmers’ cooperatives to acquire standard storage and processing facilities to add value to their produce for increased turnover.
The funding is under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project-ACDP, which is jointly funded by government and World Bank with the aim of raising on-farm productivity, production and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in the different zones of the country.
Michael Okello, the grants officer in Ministry of Agriculture says the grant is meant to support organised cooperatives to get the required capacities through which they can effectively respond to emerging challenges in the agricultural sector that affect their earnings.
Okello explains that government found it viable to focus its energies and resources on promoting the value addition aspect in the agricultural sub sector so as to make it a more profitable venture to local farmers.
Engineer Denis Tumusiime, the Head of Finance and Administration Agriculture Cluster Development Project explains that with proper post-harvest handling and processing facilities, farmers will be protected from making losses they often suffer in hurried sale of unprocessed produce.
Tumusiime advised the beneficiary groups that are outside the power grid to consider dedicating part of their grant to extend electricity to their areas to facilitate agricultural production and value addition.
Badiru Kagga, the West Buganda Buganda Coffee Farmers’ Cooperative Union Board Secretary, says the grant will support them realize their dream of procuring a modern coffee hurler which they have been craving for to boost their processing capacity.