By Samuel Tatambuka
Kumi District farmers have applauded Uganda Christian University's (UCU) Department of Agricultural and Biological Sciences for equipping them with new farming techniques so as to improve agricultural production.
This happened during the final evaluation of the project 'Designing and implementing a university-based extension and technology dissemination programme for grain legumes and dry land cereals innovations in eastern Uganda in eastern Uganda' (GLDC), which took place on July 29th to 30th, 2019 in Kumi Town Council Youth Sharing Hall, where farmers and the district officials recognized UCU's commitment to improvement of agriculture.
According to Odeke Valdo, the Kumi District Production Officer, the project has created increased demand for agricultural services.
"We recognize that the project has increased demand for better agricultural services in Kumi and most importantly, it has increased coverage for the district since students having been living with the farmers in the same community," said Odeke.
He added that this is a vital project because it gives hands-on skills to students, who have been living with the farmers.
According to Odeke Isois, the Chairperson of Good Parents farmers group in Kumi Sub-County, this initiative will help them address today's agricultural challenges.
"After interacting with the students, I want to transform my poultry farm into a commercial one. I have learnt that poultry provides fresh and nutritious food and has a huge global demand. It also doesn't require high capital for starting. I was taught by the students that I only need basic capital to start commercial poultry," said Isois.
GLDC project, implemented by the Department of Agricultural and Biological Sciences UCU, is aimed at designing and implementing a university-based extension and technology dissemination program for grain legumes and dry land cereal innovations in eastern Uganda.
UCU's Dean of Faculty of Science and Technology, Associate Professor Elizabeth Kizito, said the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) recognized UCU because it has been engaging in community out-reaches as part of the students' training.
More than 500 farmers, from three Sub-Counties namely; Ongino, Kanyum and Kumi have benefited from diverse areas in animal and crop production such as kitchen gardens, making organic pesticides, improved livestock management, group dynamics, safe use of agro-chemicals and M-Omulimisa (an application used to access extension services in agriculture) among others.
The project is funded by International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) through RUFORUM.