Farmers in Kiryandongo District are reaping big from the various projects introduced to them by the National Agricultural Advisory Services-NAADS.
The over 500 farmers mostly from the village of Yelekeni in Bweyale Town council are engaging in maize farming, piggery and poultry keeping among others. to boost the productivity and quality of their products, the NAADS secretariat established a grain store and donated to them a tractor and a semi-automated maize mill.
Initially, the farmers used to cultivate on a small scale using rudimentary tools like hand hoes, axes and Pangas among others. But they are now cultivating on a large scale and they say that their livelihood has totally changed with the mechanized farming items and other farm inputs like improved quality seeds.
Margret Bariyo, one of the benefiting farmers explains that she used to cultivate maize on between two to three acres of land using the hand-hoe but now cultivates five to 10 acres of land every season after the introduction of the tractor.
Richard Achelam, another farmer in Yelekeni village says that through the NAADS programme, they have been able to acquire market information adding that NAADs has brought advanced technology close to the farmers and all other facts about agriculture.
Grace Adiyo, one of the farmers dealing in Piggery says that the project has since become her sole source of revenue.
Samuel Oyenyboth, a youth says through NAADs, he has been able to improve his farming methods given the vast training especially on value addition that has helped boost his household income. He says even the introduction of modern storage facilities like raised stores, by NAADS, has helped to improve the quality of farm produce.
Joseph Okony, another farmer says the introduction of the semi-automated maize mill has helped to improve the quality of the maize flour that they produce. He says the farming communities are able to access formal markets through group bulking and marketing of their produce.
Khadija Nakakande, the Communications Officer at NAADS says that the government has come up with initiatives aimed at reducing post-harvest losses, promoting value addition and collective marketing systems, besides improving access to agro-inputs among farmers in selected parts of the country.
She said NAADS will continue to work with other partners to address the challenges still faced by the farmers and continue training the farmers to ensure effective use of farming tools as well as with appropriate knowledge and skills on quality management for improved household incomes.
The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) is a program of the government of Uganda put in place to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural extension services. It is a semi-autonomous body formed under the NAADS Act of June 2001 with a mandate to develop a demand-driven, farmer-led agricultural service delivery system targeting the poor subsistence farmers, with emphasis on women, youth and people with disabilities.
The NAADS program was initially designed to build the capacity of farmers to form and operate farmer associations, demand advisory services and adopt improved agricultural technologies and practices through demonstration of the technologies by model farmers in the communities.