The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, has revealed that Uganda this year produced the highest quantity of coffee in the past 20 years, despite the challenges posed by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Ssempijja revealed this on Tuesday while addressing farmers about the Seasonal Rainfall Outlook.
During the address held at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, the Minister, together with officials from Uganda National Meteorological Authority, gave farmers tips on how optimally to utilize the season to increase production despite the COVID-19 challenges.
“According to the climate outlook forum that sat on 26th August 2020, the weather for October to December 2020 is predicted to be drier than normal in the East African region. The purpose of this message, therefore, is to remind and encourage our farmers to intensify agricultural activities in this second season of the year 2020,” Minister Ssempijja said.
Talking about activities for seasonal crops production and preparations for planting, the Minister said that preparations of gardens should have begun earlier before the planting season.
He noted that the ongoing rains mark the onset of the second season rains which is expected to be short.
“Farming is a business that thrives successfully on sound and proper bookkeeping principles as well as maintenance of good farm records. Farmers are advised to record all their farming operations right from land preparations to marketing/consumption,” the Minister noted.
He added; “I call upon extension workers, and leaders at various levels to disseminate this message extensively. In light of the changing weather conditions, several advisory messages will be disseminated from time to time. Let us work as a team to produce more safe, marketable food and fiber, for a healthy and prosperous nation.”
He also explained that; “Uganda has generally been food secure even during the COVID-19 situation. On the side of cash crops, for instance, Uganda shipped 543,251- 60kg bags of coffee in the month of July 2020, up from 463,709 bags exported in the same month in 2019. This is the highest volume of coffee reported in the last 20 years. I congratulate you on this good performance &equally urge you to double efforts to enable Uganda to achieve its target of exporting 20 million coffee bags per annum, among other agricultural products.”
Besides crop farmers, the Minister also gave livestock farmers tips on how to safeguard their animals during and after the rainy season from pests and diseases.
He advised the livestock farmers to among others do the following things;
To maintain the livestock watering points such as dams, valley tanks through clearing water inlets
Maintain and improve the quality of pastures, plant legumes, and remove unwanted grasses from their grazing areas.
He also urged them to make hay and silage for storage in preparation for the dry season, noting that according to information from the National Meteorology Centre the second rain season will not be long and the next dry season is anticipated to come sooner than expected.