MBARARA – Farmers hopes have been restored after the launch of the western regional Agricultural Farm Service Center that will be used to boost agriculture in the area.
The center that will also coordinate hands-on skilling training of farmers will be run under the 10 F’s model that include Farm technology development, farm technology access, farm organization and financial services, farm data resources management, farm value addition and processing support.
Others are farm input access and supply chain management, farm management support and farm agribusiness incubation.
The service center launched Tuesday is located at Excel Hort Consult home at Kibwera, Biharwe division in Mbarara town and the coordinating entities for the center include Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC &DB), Excel Hort Consult and Bushenyi Youth Project Forum.
At the center also other institutions like Makerere University School of Agricultural Sciences, Rwentanga Farm Institute, Bishop Stuart University have already been demarcated plots where they have established demonstration farms to offer skills and services to farmers.
Dr Charles Lagu, the Executive director NAGRC &DB said the center will be key in developing and transforming the agricultural sector as it will act as a strategic think tank for all actors in this sector to identify challenges and moot for solutions to these challenges.
“For example, the center will provide mechanism for incubating businesses for value addition, diversified markets, mindset change. We are very convinced that if all players in the agricultural sector are coordinated, we can easily transform this sector and make it a reliable venture for job and wealth creation,” said Dr Lagu.
Prof. Alex Ariho, Excel Hort Consult director-general said the service center will look at identifying constraints and opportunities in the agricultural sector, to know who is doing what, how, where to advance this sector, map out best practices and solutions that can be replicated for the success of the sector and document successful models that can add value to develop the sector.
“This center will work as a clinic, where farmers’ problems will be diagnosed and treated that’s why we have decided to come together as key entities in the sector to map out strategies to develop the sector,” said Professor Ariho.
Operation Wealth Creation coordinator Mbarara Lt Col Sam Karogo said the service center will offer different hands-on skills to farmers which will be a major boost to their programme.
“We have been having a challenge that most farmers lack skills on best farming practices, we would give them inputs but these could not translate to results for lack of skills but with this center we are optimistic we are going to realize a significant change,” said Lt Col Karogo.
Officiating at the launch Mbarara RDC Lt Col James Mwesigye said the challenge agricultural sector still faces is mindset change and practical skills, adding with now this center focusing of these, agriculture in the region is set to blossom.