The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), and the Rubanga Coffee Cooperative,have been launched to combat the persistent threat of diseases and vectors affecting farmers.
The focus is on enhancing food security, fostering agricultural production, and ensuring sustainable incomes for local farmers.
Recent estimates highlight the significant contribution of the agriculture sector, constituting approximately 24.1% of the country's GDP.
Moreover, a staggering 70% of Uganda's workforce is engaged in agriculture, underscoring its pivotal role in the nation's economic landscape.
Farmers, however, grapple with multifaceted challenges, including pest and disease outbreaks wreaking havoc on crops, optimal productivity relative to investments, and the unsettling issue of price fluctuations.
James Muhangi, the manager for Rubanga Coffee Cooperative said, "These challenges stifle our farmers, hindering their potential for growth and prosperity."
Despite the hardships faced by farmers, a glimmer of hope emerges as the Ministry of Agriculture, CABI, and Rubanga Coffee Cooperative join forces to deploy over 100 youth plant doctors.
These trained individuals are poised to address the pressing issue of pests and diseases that impede agricultural production.
Stephen Byantwale, Principal Agriculture Inspector at MAAIF says, "The initiative aligns with the seven-point presidential directives aimed at transforming and fortifying the agricultural sector."
In the midst of these challenges, local leaders express their views on the pressing need for intervention.
Benon Karyeija, LCV Chairman Mitooma, emphasizes," Farmers have long awaited support, and the government extension workers must step up to the plate."
Christine Alokit, Extension Scientist at CABI, adds,"Our farmers deserve comprehensive assistance, and the youth plant doctors are a positive step forward."
While the deployment of youth plant doctors brings promise, cautionary measures have been taken to prevent any exploitation.
Trainees have been sternly warned against extorting money from farmers, ensuring that the assistance provided remains genuine and accessible.
Alokit notes, "The mission is to empower farmers, not exploit them. Any malpractice will be dealt with firmly."
This collaborative effort underscores a collective commitment to fortifying Uganda's agricultural foundation, offering a ray of hope to farmers grappling with adversities