Farmers in Katakwi district have a reason to smile after the construction and commissioning of a Sh269m bulking centre for agricultural products in Ongongoja Sub County.
The Ongongoja multi-purpose storage facility, is a solid investment by government aimed at creating a one-stop grain and cereal centre in the district.
The facility has been constructed with proceeds from Local Economic Growth Support project (LEGS), with support by the Islamic Development Bank to which Uganda has been a member since 1975.
Speaking during the commissioning of the facility in Apton village on Friday, Vice President Jessica Alupo who doubles as district Woman member of Parliament said, the facility has come in handy for Teso sub region.
“Leveraging on the competitive advantage of the region as a cereal and grain producing area, the Ongongoja multi-purpose storage facility will aid farmers to produce more aggregated storage,” Alupo said.
Alupo noted that one of the challenges that Uganda’s agriculture faces is the absence of safe and accessible storage facilities to handle large volumes of produce for aggregated storage.
She lauded the Ministry of Local Government, the implementers of LEGS project for extending such facilities to Teso region.
The project overall goal is to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable development goals, especially those related to eradication of poverty through development of water resources for irrigation and consumption.
The project also seeks to increase incomes of small rural farmers by boosting agricultural production and productivity.
The Vice President said the facility is going to stimulate production. “The project is going to turn around the traditional thinking or attitude of the local communities to modern ways of doing things,” Alupo noted.
She congratulated the ministry for introducing the local people to modern and vast way of storing produce.
She noted that as Africans we had this idea very many years ago adding that this vast technology is going to help the locals in bulking big volumes of produce and also market it.
“It will improve storage problems of the produce and assured food security,” Alupo said.
She congratulated Ongongoja Fruit Co-operative, the operators of the bulking facility for being found worthy for such a high value investment.
She assured members that bulking centres are key points of quality and quantity management within the supply chain enabling farmers to aggregate.
She also asked the locals to promote growing of citrous fruits and encouraged members of the cooperative and surrounding communities to boost production and make good use of the storage facility.
Alupo finally encouraged the locals to use the prevailing peace and security to continue cultivating their land, planting trees but also avoid burning of bushes as the practice worsens the environmental in the region.
Raphael Magyezi, the Local Government Minister in his remarks said LEGS project is financing construction and rehabilitation of water supply schemes for households and agricultural production.
He explained that it supports construction of community access roads, agricultural processing facilities, general community and livestock markets and environmental restoration.
He noted that in Katakwi district the project has rehabilitated Ngariam-Palam-Ising 13km road, construction and equipping of the Ocorimongin Rice processing plant and financing Palam fruit farmers cooperative with a capacity of sh50m under the rural financing component.
He noted that they plan to construct Agule mini-irrigation scheme and technical designs are underway adding work will commence by March.
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