Farmers and traders in the Ankole region are demanding that the government avails market for their products.
The farmers who are attending the first Greater Ankole Symposium say their agricultural products are rotting away or are sold cheaply at the peak of the harvests because of limited markets. More than 1,000 farmers, traders, Innovators are attending the symposium organized by Operation Wealth Creation and the Uganda Development Bank.
Silver Tumwesigye a grapes farmer in Nyabushozi says the taxes levied on local products are damaging the local products on the world market, especially in terms of competition. He explains that they pay 2,000 shillings per bottle as tax while the product is sold 18,000 Shillings per bottle.
He says the local industries lack protection from the government against international industries.
Deus Tumusiime, the Chairperson of Ankole Fish Farmers Association says they have adequate fish for sale but lack market. He says that they are also facing challenges of the high costs of fish food compared to the price of the fish on the market.
Dr. Edward Kazire, the Managing Director of Kazire Health Products wants the government to invest much in research that will create a favorable environment for the farmers.
Prof Pamela Mbabazi, the Executive Chairperson of the National Planning Authority-NPA says investments done in the country are focusing around creating employment but the market is not being considered. She advised farmers and traders to look for specific commodities and to sell on the regional market.
Gen Salim Saleh, the Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation-OWC says that the government has invested much in production and neglected marketing which has left a farmer with no power at all in the chain of agriculture.
He says more money is needed in the processing of the agricultural outputs as per the demand in the market. According to Saleh, there is a high production of beans and milk but the price given to the farmer is less compared to the money earned by a trader at Busia Border.
He also said that marketing is the biggest cost in selling a product, especially in a competitive market and if empowered alongside production Uganda will fast steadily develop.
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