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Copyright 2017 - @ College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Makerere University. All Rights Reserved!

MUARIK hosts the 7th Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic and its 4th Farm Clinic on five enterprises - Banana, Coffee, Piggery, Passion fruit and Dairy Farming.

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A section of participants attending the training on the Dairy enterprise at MUARIK.On the Dairy enterprise, participants were taken through an  overview of the Dairy industry , Breeds, Health and Management, and Feeds management.

 

Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) on 26th August 2017 hosted the 7th Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic  and its 4th Farm Clinic focusing on  five enterprises namely Banana, Cofffee, Piggery, Passion Fruit and Dairy farming.

The training is a partnership between MUARIK and the Daily Monitor Newspaper Publication sponsored by subscriptions (shs.70, 000 per participant) and supported by both public and private  institutions such as Post Bank, the Monitor Publications, Heifer International, aBi Trust and Counter -feit Network.among others.

The training attracted about 1000 participants comprising of practicing and prospective farmers, dairy processors, businessmen and suppliers of Agro-input dealers as well as exhibitors.

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Some of the participants listening to the instructor and taking notes

The function was officially opened by the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences represented by the Director MUARIK, Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa.

Prof. Tukamuhabwa informed participants that the Farm Clinic is organized by MUARIK in collaboration with Monitor Publications Ltd and  focused on four enterprises  that is bananas, coffee, piggery and the dairy.

“We get all farmers in Uganda though we remain focused on those from central who are interested in farming. So they come and study hands on and get real information about these enterprises . This is the fourth time MUARIK is arranging this kind of Farm Clinic with the Monitor. We are very happy that we are working together with the private sector to help farmers access knowledge and technologies,” Prof. Tukamuhabwa said.

The Director said  that since the inception of the farm clinics a lot of impact hasve have been realized.

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Director MUARIK, Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa explains the importance of the Farm clinic and how the institute has benefited

“There are indicators. Several farmers keep following up asking questions, wanting clarifications and telling other people especially institutions to come to MUARIK to learn about modern practices in agriculture which means it also exposes what we have to show to the world. Another thing is that, it is to do with our mission as a university because we generate knowledge and technologies as well as transferring these technologies to people.”  Said Tukamuhabwa.

The Communications Manager  aBi Trust  George Mutagubya said  aBi is the number one agribusiness enterprise in Uganda supporting over 250 big projects and impacting over 2 million Ugandans.

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The Communications Manager  aBi Trust  George Mutagubya speaking

“So our aim is to create wealth through the agricultural sector and our objective is to promote agribusiness in Uganda for wealth creation. We are funded by donors, Government of Uganda and donors.

The way we support agriculture is that we combine both the technical and financial, reason being that in most cases financial and technical support are separated. We understand that if you empower someone and give them information about agriculture, it is not good enough if you don’t empower them by giving resources to practice what you have told them  to look for market, add value, increase productivitity so that they have more money in their pockets ,”  Mutagubya said.

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A section of participants undrgoing training on the Banana enterprise.Those  who chose the Banana enterprise had an overview of the banana enterprise, breeds, management, feeds and health  while those who went for the piggery enterprise went through  an overview of the piggery enterprise, breeds, management, feeds and health.

He said aBi Trust  found  monitor  a strong partner having many platforms they can  utilize  to reach as many farmers as possible to sell their messages to  benefit from their services and products.

“aBi supports agriculture by giving grants to develop individuals but one must provide accountability. They encourage individuals to form groups or cooperatives to benefit from the grants. The other way people are helped is through lines of credits. They work with financial institutions so that a farmer can go and access money from commercial banks or micro finance institution

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 Some of the exhibitors display their products during the Farm clinic

Most financial institutions are scared of investiting in agriculture because it is risky due to changing climate and other natural calamities so, aBi gives money to financial institutions to lend money to agriculture, ” He explained.

The Director Legal and Co-orporate Affairs of the Anti- Counterfeit network Fred Muwema said, the  network realized that there  lots of challenges in controlling the influx of counterfeit inputs  into the agricultural sector.

“ This is  because most of the government regulatory bodies have challenges of funding for instance we have only 20 inspectors in the Ministry of Agriculture , most districts lack District Veterinary Officers and  if there are any, they are not funded to reach out to most areas.

So we thought that we need to change the approach. We need to make the farmer and consumer the front line for fighting the vice of counterfeit. First of all the business of fakes has grown in many areas of agriculture and other consumables. The incidence is up to 60% meaning that where there are 10 products, six are fake,” Muwema said.

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The Director Legal and Co-orporate Affairs of the Anti- Counterfeit network Fred Muwema  being interviewed after his remarks at the opening session

He said, the network  thought of  increasing   consumer awareness of the fake products and  working together with the brand owner to deny the seller of the fake product and create  an opportunity for a farmer to get the right product.

“In the end if you get  a fake product because it is cheap, it will not have the right ingredients. You will then be forced to buy more quantities of the substandard product to get the active ingredient so what you initially thought as a saving, you end up spending more. Secondly the final product that you get if it is a bird, you will have a sick bird which will not attract a good price.

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 Some of the participants training on the Passion Fruit enterprise.On passion Fruit enterprises participants had an overview of the passion fruits enterprise and practical sessions on planting, pests and disease control.

Muwema explained that  that there was lack of  awareness on the part of the consumers/farmers and the brand owners about the laws against counterfeits adding that many brand owners believe there is no law in Uganda to fight counterfeits.

“We have been having laws since 1953 that protect the integrity of products and owners but the laws are not being implemented. So before we claimer for more laws with harsh sentences,  let’s implement the current sentences. Our platform is to help bridge the gap between the affected  for instance, is UNBS coordinating with police, courts and farmers and manufacturers?

The intervention mechanism to fight fakes are done in a disjointed manner and many people donot understand that counterfeits are dangerours but think people are innovative and trying to survive”, He said.

Mwema advised farmers that the most important thing to know is that if a product is genuine you have a fall back to the manaufacturer in case you have damage but if the product is fake, you have no where to go, so, you get damage and you are alone.

The Acting  Farm Manager MUARIK Ahangana Julius Peter  and  facilitator for the Passion Fruit farming said the MUARIK's partnership with the Daily Monitor has so far lived.

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Farm Manager MUARIK and also facilitator Passion fruit Julius Peter Ahangana conducting the training

“We are now in our second year. We first did our first clinic in May 2016, did the second  in October 2016, another one  in May 2017 and today August 26th 2017 and those are two years of working together and throughout  all, we have exhibited efficiency, impacted communities and sensitized masses.

This partnership has caused us to advertise the potential of MUARIK. We discovered that MUARIK has a huge pontential and  the only challenge was people knowing. Now, we have addressed the issue of demystification and publicity,” Said Ahangana.

The Farm Manager reported that the institute has been able to hold trainings on most of the crops and livestock.

“ We first had poultry, the second one focused on dairy, the third on all enterprises and we did it with Mbarara Zonal Agricultural Research development institute and we are the facilitators who facilitated it. We also have had today a regional clinic for central region and we are the ones who have hosted it again.

We have registered a lot of success since we started working with the monitor. Our local sales from feeds, seedlings and all enterprises have increased because it gives us the chance of talking to the masses of what we do at MUARIK,” The Farm Manager reported.

Ahangana added that the days’ farm clinic was the first of its kind where they had more than one enterprise being handled in the central region.

“We feel this one is different because it has covered all the five enterprises and we have given peple chance to choose not dictating over them what enterprise to study and they have decided and chosen their enterprises,” he added.

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 Top and bottom: Some of the exhibitors with their products

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One of the exhibitors from NARO showcasing the coffee.The group that went in for the coffee enterprise had an overview of the coffee enterprise, management, pests and diseases.

Report Compiled by:

Jane Anyango;

Communication Officer, CAES

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Office of the Principal

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Makerere University

P.O.Box, 7062, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256-414-542277

Email: principal@caes.mak.ac.ug