By George Aine
The government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, has acquired a Shs560b loan from the World Bank for electronic registration of all farmers across the country to enable easy access of services.
Under the arrangement, government has hired an IT firm to gather farmers’ data such as location, literacy levels, landownership, land acreage, farmer group composition and income levels.
While launching the project in Kampala on Tuesday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said the move shows government is committed to promoting agriculture.
“We are attaching great importance to agriculture because 26 per cent of the country’s GDP is from agriculture and 52 per cent of our exports are agricultural in nature and, therefore, agriculture still remains the main stead of our economy,” Dr Rugunda said.
He added the electronic data base is meant to ensure farmers are easily coordinated.
“It is implementation and focus on support of the main priority crops so that we can increase both in the quantity and quality and hence market will be better supplied both locally and internationally,” he added.
The Minister for Agriculture, Mr Vicent Ssempijja, said the electronic registration will help farmers improve quality and quantity in terms of production.
“We have start on a very important revolution of changing farmers from subsistence to commercial farming, and they have to be known because it is the only way of knowing how much support is needed depending on the data base,” Mr Ssempijja said.
He added that this system will help to link the farmers, buyers and distributors without wasting time and money through sending demands and products which are on the market.
Ms Carol Kakooza, the chief of party Market led Users owned ICT for Agriculture Information Service, who are handling the project, said so far they have registered 20,000 farmers from Kalungu, Nebbi Amuru ,Ntugamo and Iganga and very soon they will be handling the rest of the country .
“The government aims at targeting the status of farmers in the country because without knowing the knowledge about the farmers and their capacity of production then resource allocation will be very poor hence affecting the production rate,” Ms Kakooza said.
She added that this is a good move to achieve more production and sustaining international markets because the inputs will be distributed according to the average number of farmers in the specific area.