The Hoima City Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Asinansi Nyakato, has called for continuous training of smallholder farmers in the oil-rich Bunyoro region if they are to meet required quality and quantity supply of foodstuffs to the oil and gas sector.
She says farmers need to be trained in modern and sustainable farming practices that meet international standards since the oil and gas industry is internationally regulated.
The law maker made the call during a training of more than 100 farmers at Hoima District Farmers Association (HODFA) offices in Nyawaigambe, Hoima City on Friday.
Her appeal comes at a time the country is moving to produce its 6.5 billion barrels of oil which would eventually create opportunities for the prepared farmers and enable them earn more from their foodstuffs as opposed to selling on the open market.
Ms Nyakato, the aforesaid training funder, said besides the oil and gas industry, empowering farmers with proper and modern agronomic practices will ensure that they improve food security at the household level.
In a speech delivered for her by Mr Aziz Kalyegira, the male councillor for Bwikya Ward, the parliamentarian also urged farmers to embrace such initiatives adding that the government should scale up its efforts in helping residents in the oil-rich region to benefit from the resource.
Mr Fred Asaba, one of the trainers from Kikoboza village in Kiziranfumbi sub-county, Kikuube district said in this one-day training, farmers where 70% were women have been skilled in horticulture.
He said horticulture enables those who do not have big chunks of land to use them prudently.
Mr Moses Byenkya, the coordinator for HODFA told Kazi-Njema News that the legislator sponsored the training to ensure people learn urban farming, get good nutrition and income from the production and sell of vegetables.
He said the trainees were given tips in nursery bed preparation and management, types of urban gardening, pest control and manure (fertilizer) application among others.
The coordinator added that farmers were advised to put their priority in the growing of parsley, cucumber, water melon, rosemary, spinach, onions, okra and lettuce among others.
Mr Byenkya revealed plans to establish demonstration gardens so that the trainees’ neighbours can also come to learn and implement the same.
Ms Florence Byenkya, a farmer from Bujumbura cell, said they also need to go practically to the gardens to learn how it happens there.
Mr John Byaruhanga, a model farmer from Buswekera cell, implored the trainees to practice farming as a business since it is now paying than before, noting that “gold is now in the soil.”