Thousands Participate in the 32nd Edition of the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic at NARO-NaCORI

Thousands of Coffee and cocoa value chain actors graced the 32nd Edition of Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic at NARO-NaCORI to interact with NARO experts through training on good agronomic practices, harvesting, post-harvest management and adding value to coffee, cocoa and banana as an intercrop for coffee.  Other pertinent issues discussed included agriculture financing, fertilizer use, irrigation, farm machinery, greenhouse farming, and pest control among other topical issues. The clinic was segmented into training, Q&A sessions, one-on-one interaction between farmers, experts and demonstrations. 

Dr. Geofrey Arinaitwe, the Director of Research of the National Coffee Research Institute, welcomed all stakeholders to the National Coffee Research Institute and emphasized that the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic is one of the events that enables NARO institutes to share and disseminate research outputs with farmers for better productivity. He appreciates that research is an engine for coffee and cocoa growth and called upon the government for more investment in research, seeing that Uganda will continue to produce less yet we have the potential to become one of the biggest exporters of coffee and cocoa.

Figure 2: NaCORI director of research Dr Geofrey Arinaitwe addressing coffee and cocoa value chain actors

In his speech to the participants, Dr. Sadik Kassim, NARO Deputy Director General in Charge of Technology Promotion, lauded Nation Media Group for directly contributing to the economy through the Seeds of Gold initiative, which brings together stakeholders, private sector participation, knowledge sharing through training, and financial institutions for sharing information on access to different loans provided. He also appreciated the goodwill of Operation Wealth Creation in addressing a strongly supported food system spearheaded by smallholder farmers.

Figure 3: Dr Sadik Kassim, the NARO Deputy Director General responsible for technology promotion addressing participants

The event, which had high representation from Operation Wealth Creation, was closed by Hon. Kataike Sarah Ndoboli, who represented the Guest of Honor, Maj. Gen. Salim Saleh. In her speech, she urged NARO to do more outreach so that farmers at the grassroots can directly benefit from such initiatives as the farm clinic. She also encouraged the farm clinic program to work with other government programs like the Parish development model and Farm service centers, which were established by OWC and where training takes place, to strengthen working relations. She also called upon the Bank of Uganda to provide more affordable financial products than the Agricultural Credit Facility (ACF) to farmers. She appreciated the Stanbic Bank incubation program, which helps people get the right technologies at no cost. However, she encouraged upscaling it to every branch for easy access.

Hon. Felix Kulaigye, who also attended the event, voiced his disappointment with financial institutions for making financial credit acquisition processes difficult for farmers who actually need it the most.

He also challenged NARO to evaluate the effects their technologies have on farming households in Uganda.

Representatives from Bwamba Corporative Union, which is known for cocoa production in Bundibugyo district, complained about Cocoa productivity going down, with allegations that locals trap grasshoppers with sharp light, which chases and also kills the insects that pollinate cocoa. They reported that in Congo, grasshopper trapping was banned because of its negative effect on cocoa production, which was gradually going down. They, therefore, tasked NARO researchers with giving them recommendations to save their cocoa productivity.


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