A group of 13 farmers that were recently sent to the Netherlands for a week’s study trip returned safely to Ugandans with most of them promising to put the acquired knowledge into good use.
The 13 farmers from around the country had emerged winners from the 2018 Best Farmers Awards organized by Dfcu bank in partnership with Vision Group, KLM Airlines and the Netherland Embassy to encourage and award farmers with best farming skills.
These included Betty Mbaziira of Awa Dairy Farm and AWA foods from Isingiro district, Magigye’s Aloysius Lubega of Bulamu mixed farm, Kamuli’s Julius Bataamye of JB Mixed Farm and Slaughter House, Moses Kiptala of Mengya Irish Farm from Kween district, Fruit farmer, Vincent Ojok from Lira in northern Uganda and David Wamai, a coffee and banana’s farmer from Manafwa.
Other winners include Shamim Napakol, fruit farmer from Bukedea, Abel Kiddu of African Mushrooms Growers Uganda Ltd from Makindye, Del Mugisa, Banana Juice processor from Bunyangabu district and finally Faridah Lutale from Arua district who grows Bananas, vegetables and does zero grazing.
The farmers visited the Dutch Royal De Heus, a livestock feeds processing plant, Attro Trading B.V, a pig farm in Ons Boerenerf among others
The group has praised the improved methods of farming, food processing and packaging in the Netherlands and promised to put part of what they have learnt into action.
‘I have learnt a lot especially on apple growing and specifications. I intend to use this knowledge to improve on my farm’ said Napakol, a citrus farmer from Bukedea
Betty Mbabazi, a dairy farmer from Isingiro said; ‘I have learnt a lot especially on how to mix feeds to improve dairy production’
Moses Kiptala, an irish farmer from Kween district said; ‘I was excited to see that even developed countries are growing potatoes although theirs is grown in a more organised manner and on a large scale. This has given me the urge to expand my farm and do more to enter the export market’
During their flagoff, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, animal industry and fisheries, Pius Wakabi had advised the farmers to take advantage of the trip to improve their skills and further transform the country’s social economic status
‘The government still considers agricultural as the main sector that can ensure inclusive growth and attainment of the middle income status. Netherland is the most advanced agricultural country in the world, once you are there, you should ensure that you copy some of the methods of farming that are used there and come apply them here in Uganda’ he said
Dfcu bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mathias Katamba at the same event that took place at the dfcu head office noted that the bank was purposely investing in agricultural because it’s the backbone of Uganda, employing about 80% of the working population.
“There is so much potential in the agricultural sector. If fully utilized, Uganda would be able to feed over 200m people. We just need to do more in agricultural modernization, value addition, production and productivity, Processing and product standards” he said
Katamba noted that they had chosen Netherlands for the last five years because the country is known for employing the best agricultural methods in the world and is one of the biggest modern agricultural countries in the world
“This trip has changed many farmers lives. We have seen a great improvement in farm and business management once these farmers come back. There is so much to learn and copy from there” he said