Build Factories, Farmers Tell OWC

AMURU – The pitiable retail prices of crops grown out of seeds supplied by Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) has remained a subject of vast disagreement between the beneficiary farmers and the program officials in the northern district of Amuru.

Farmers are demanding that OWC builds factories and industries in Amuru District to help farmers add value to their produce.

Interviewed by theCooperator, farmers said OWC has given them planting materials of citrus, cassava and potatoes, but when the crops are harvested they fetch far too little on the market.

Jalia Kalenga Amuge, a citrus farmer, said OWC should help farmers add value to their produce.

“Well, we appreciate the program since right now food production is on the rise but it has not helped us much in areas of surplus for sell. We sell whatever we produce in its raw form, which is costing the farmers a lot,” she said.

Juma Olum said cassava prices are demoralizing. “The only factory in the region cannot consume what we produce. That leaves farmers with no choice but to sell at a giveaway price to the middlemen,” he said.

Simon Peter Komakech, the Amuru OWC District Agricultural Officer, told theCooperator that failure to add value to produce remains a big challenge for farmers across the district.

Some farmers are demoralized and have restricted themselves to growing only food for domestic consumption.

“You imagine a sack of fresh cassava being sold at only Shs 20,000 and that can go down to Shs 15,000,”’ he said

Komakech said value addition is the way to go much as many farmers cannot afford it.

“At times we imagine that even if farmers are empowered to add value to what they produce, where will they find the market for their produce?” he said.

OWC Spokesperson Kiconco Tabaro advised farmers to use the available factories within their areas to add value to produce.

“They shouldn’t lose hope, but they should team up and find a solution to the problem. The government is soon unveiling a plan to have factories in areas where production is high so that value is added on to what farmers produce,” he advised.

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