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High quality agricultural products will always access market – Ssempijja

Agriculture Minister Vincent Sssempijja and FAO representative Antonio Querido during the launch of the solar irrigation system.

Kampala, Uganda | Isaac Khisa | Farmers who produce high quality products will always access market in the East African region and abroad, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja.

Ssempijja, who was speaking during the handover ceremony of solar powered irrigation system to Bugomola Integrated Farmers Group in Lwabenge sub-county, Kalungu district, said the market for agricultural products is available but the biggest challenge is quality.

“Make sure you produce high quality products and you will get the market,” he said adding that farmers also need to widen their market access to include China and United Kingdom riding on Uganda Airlines network expansion.

Uganda Airlines, which now flies mainly in the East African region including Nairobi, Mombasa and Mogadishu, plans to launch flights to Guangzhou and London Heathrow soon once all the relevant documentation are completed.

Ssempija’s comments were in response to the farmer’s cry that there’s a lot of price fluctuations for their agricultural products – tomatoes, maize and coffee and others – making their returns very unpredictable and in most cases far lower that their expectations.

Antonio Querido, Country Representative FAO, said FAO’s interest is to address water scarcity in the Uganda’s drought hit areas to boost food production.

“We believe that we can push agriculture to the level that we want,” he said, adding that FAO is committed to supporting farmers to improve food security for their families and income.

Meanwhile, Benita Nalusiba, chairperson of Bugomola Integrated Farmers Group, said they appreciate FAO and the agriculture ministry for availing them with the much needed irrigation facility.

“We are very happy that we shall be able to produce food throughout the year,” she said. She, however, called upon the two entities to consider expanding the facility to include two more groups in the area to increase the beneficiaries.

However, FAO’s water engineer, Denis Besigye said FAO will look into its budget and if funds allow, the facility could be expanded.

He said it is now the responsibility of the farmers to take care of the water irrigation facility to ensure that they benefit from it maximally.

He revealed that the facility worth Shs260million has a capacity to irrigate four acres of land in three-four hours.

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