Stakeholders in the promotion of Hass avocado and macadamia met in Kyenjojo district to reflect and strategize on how to promote the two high-value crops. The review and planning meeting that took place at Njojo Farm in Kyenjojo district was attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, leaders from the District Local Government in the Rwenzori region and farmers from across the country.
During the meeting that was organised by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and Member of Parliament for Mwenge County Central Hon. Tom Butime said if Ugandans embrace hass avocado and macadamia growing, the two crops will go a long way to improve their incomes and also to save Uganda’s economy.
The government of Uganda through NAADS is supporting the implementation of an intervention for promoting/scaling of emerging high-value strategic commodities notably, hass avocado and macadamia under the nucleus farmer partnership strategy.
The Executive Director of NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi informed participants in the meeting that NAADS started the implementation of the intervention in season B 2022 with the distribution of 103,362 hass avocado seedlings and 29,234 macadamia seedlings in 42 implementing districts under a co-funding arrangement. In this arrangement, the Government through NAADS pays for 70% of the cost of the seedling while the remaining 30% is paid by the farmer.
“The co-funding approach is not new in the implementation of government programmes. In our previous interventions we were giving planting materials free of charge to farmers, however, the most farmer never valued these materials and left them to go to waste. We have learnt from this past experience and in order to have a sustainable intervention, farmers need to own the programme by contributing a percentage on the cost of the seedlings”, explained Dr. Mugasi
Maj. Gen. Robert Rusoke, who is one of the nucleus farmers working with NAADS supports the confounding approach saying the government should maintain co-funding because Macadamia and Hass Avocado are high-value crops therefore giving free seedlings to some farmers would be a disservice as some would be reluctant to plant them.
Rusoke adds that the money a farmer invests in the two crops is worth it because the two crops have a ready market that starts with Ugandans. He advised farmers to embrace the growing of Hass avocado, saying he sold 20 tons in the previous season to the Kenyan market.
The State Minister for Agriculture Hon. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, said hass avocado and macadamia have the potential to increase the revenue of Ugandans on both the local and international markets. He urged famers to embrace the two crop varieties because they are highly marketable and profitable compared to other crops.
Member of Parliament and member of the Budget Committee Mr. Wamakuyu Ignatius said parliament is committed to supporting the growing of the two high-value crops adding that he was going to table a proposal to increase taxes on imported edible oils in order to promote the local production of vegetable oils.