MBARARA – The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, Mr. Frank Tumwebaze has said Government is planning to boost grape farming in Uganda as one of the ways to help Ugandans improve their household incomes.
The minister was on a one-day field visit to grape farmers at Nyakayojo and Katojo Cells in Mbarara City South Division and he explained that the intention of his tour was to help farmers to produce good yields that would fetch them good market both locally and internationally.
“I came with a team of experts from NARO and NAADS to ensure availability of quality seeds because the President directed me to ensure they are helped to also grow table grapes for home consumption but more so, the quality of our grapes will create the market,” said Hon Tumwebaze.
This comes at a time when Uganda is facing trade problems with Kenya and the country would like to take control and advantage of the market it has.
Having toured Mr. Kamanyiro’s farm of Pearl Wines Grape Farmers that started in 2000, Hon Tumwebaze asked the farmers to grow more table grapes since they have been growing mainly wine grapes.
Hon Tumwebaze directed Dr. Ambrose Agona the Director-General of National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) through Mbarara ZARDI to coordinate a team of experts from the Agricultural Research Organization, NAADS, District Production Officer, and Mr. Kamanyiro to sit and find possible ways of getting good quality seeds and report back to him within two months.
NARO will use the committees farmers have set up to gather the metrics and data concerning the land; each farmer in such a project has to find out if the land is rich enough with soil levels or fertilities that would enable them to grow table grapes well.