Tue Nov 09 18:28:09 EAT 2010
Small farmers hold key to food security
Uganda minister says public-private partnerships will help end menace
Entebbe, Uganda, Tuesday
Food shortage in Africa can be eliminated by linking small farmers with private enterprise, a cabinet minister has said.
According to Uganda’s Agriculture minister Hope Mwesigye, food shortage occurs due to poor distribution methods and this can be solved through public-private partnerships.
At a meeting in Entebbe, Uganda on Tuesday, Ms Mwesigye said cross-border agricultural trade needs to be strengthened.
Currently, small-holder farmers in the Comesa and EAC region still carry out subsistence agriculture whereas regional integration has opened up the market.
“Few farmers have adopted modern day technology to boost crop yields and access to markets.”
“Agriculture remains the single most effective tool to reduce poverty and create wealth, so small-holder farmers should quit subsistent farming forever,” Ms Mwesigye said.
Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa chief executive Chris Muyunda said the alliance was using the private sector to enrich small-holder farmers.
The alliance is working with firms such as Amiran in Kenya, Grain Pro in Uganda, and Terragold and Neha Ltd in India
“We cannot overlook the private sector’s critical role in uplifting farmers,” said Dr Muyunda.
The alliance has linked donors to provide technical and financial assistance to farmers and traders.