By Jurugo Emmanuel Ogasto
Farmers group demand better technology, extension on agriculture cluster project for farmers who never showed interest and now regretting for their actions and watching their colleagues earn millions of shillings from the program.
In 2017, Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP) was rolled out to Yumbe district, many farmers didn’t show interest to enroll themselves in the program.
The Ministry of Agriculture wanted the district to mobilize 20,000 farmers to benefit from the program but the district managed to enrol about 1,557 farmers.
Kassim Ejoyi, a farmer in Oyanga village in Kululu sub county said he got excited after getting the report about the agriculture cluster project.
“I enrolled in the ACDP program in 2019 hoping that I was going to fail but I found myself progressing. They opened for me an acre of land and procured 8bags of cassava cuttings to start the business in the first season”, he said.
“When I saw there was a good outcome, I decided to sell the cassava cuttings to Welt hunger hilfe and Operation Wealth Creation in the second season and I used part of the money to increase the size of my cassava garden to 6acres now”, he added.
Ejoyi said, he used part of the money to pay school fees for the children before the lockdown, stocking animals, feeding the family and building a house at home.
“If this program could continue with the support from the ministry of Agriculture and with more members brought in, there will be a complete change in our lives in the near future”, he said.
Muhammad Jamal another farmer in Bijo subcounty said, he started this project with an acre but now he has more than 5acres of cassava plantation.
Jamal added that he used the money he got from the cassava cuttings to build a commercial house which he said would allow him to get money monthly for payment of rent.
“If there is hope of the project to continue, more support on supply of post-harvest handling equipment and value addition is needed including market linkages”, he said.
Under the ACDP program, 9 groups have been supported with construction of storage facilities, machine houses and procurement of machinery for value addition.
During the visit of the minister of state for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries to Yumbe district to assess the impact of the ACDP program last week, the minister interacted with a section of the farmers and commissioned some of the completed value addition facilities.
John Asea, the chairperson of Aliamu Farmers group said it was good that the facility for processing cassava has been constructed for the farmers but there were still gaps that needed to be fixed.
He said lack of power and better water source pose a great challenge in processing cassava using the machine.
“To come up with a quality product, it needs water because wet processing of the cassava needs a lot of water. Without water, we are going to assign the women to fetch water from the valley which is very far and dirty that will compromise quality”, he said.