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Gov't Asked to Intensify Sensitization of Extension Workers on Hass Avocado :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Gov't Asked to Intensify Sensitization of Extension Workers on Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado is a commercially popular and nutritious fruit and one of the 19 crops that the Ministry of Agriculture is promoting under the Agricultural value chain development strategy.
Rwenzori and Bunyoro sub region extention workers during Hass Avocado Training at Njojo Farm in Kyenjojo

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Farmers in Rwenzori and Bunyoro sub-regions are asking the government to intensify training of extension workers on the best farming practices of Hass avocado.

Hass Avocado is a commercially popular and nutritious fruit and one of the 19 crops that the Ministry of Agriculture is promoting under the Agricultural value chain development strategy. The others are cashew nuts, bananas, cassava, beans, fish, cocoa, cotton, coffee, and others.

During the two-day training organized by National Agriculture Advisory Services-NAADS at Njojo farm in Kyenjojo district, it was observed that many of the extension workers and subsequently the focal persons for Hass avocado in various districts across the region lacked expertise and knowledge on the newly introduced crop.

Steven Ssekamate the Kiryandongo District Agricultural Officer and a Hass avocado focal person says that in Kiryandongo the enterprise is still new, and the majority of the growers have hardly spent 5 years in the exercise. He adds that one of the reasons why the government should increase training is to empower the extension workers.

“We still need a lot of knowledge on the best agronomical practices, so that we can extend it to new farmers, farmers also claim that Hass avocado is good business, but they can't afford the 30% co-funding fees established by the government on the seedlings purchase, which they claim is still too high, hence asking government to provide free seedlings” he added.

Ssekamate further revealed that most of the farmers say they are willing to engage in the enterprise only if the government assures them of a permanent market for the produce, unlike the case with cocoa, tea, vanilla, and other crops where the government has made U-turn on markets.

//Cue in: this enterprise…

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Angel Rusoke , the Executive Director Njojo Hass Avocado Model farm said, that as a result of the lack of knowledge by the extension workers on Hass avocado in the region, they have opted to offer quarterly training for all extension workers on a free basis to enable them to support new farmers and also encourage them to gain confidence in the enterprise for commercial purposes.

Rusoke further advised farmers to get seedlings from certified farmers who have exemplary orchards for better agronomical practices. 

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Grace Kazigati, the Rwenzori region NAADs Coordinator and Hass Avocado focal person revealed that NAADs is offering to orient and train technical staff in the mid-western region to equip them with knowledge and skills so that they can be able to pass it on to growers of Hass Avocado. 

Kazigati who assured farmers of the constant market for the Hass Avocado further revealed that currently, the country has at least five Hass Avocado Agro-processing plants, however, they are still operating below average due to a lack of raw materials.

//Cue in; Bunyoro and Rwenzori…

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Avocado, particularly Hass, is among the selected crops that the government, through NAADS, decided to promote because of its economic benefits. Data from NAADS indicates that Uganda has over 7,100 acres of Hass avocado, an improvement from the 3,300 acres it had before the government’s intervention. NAADS' target is 5 million acres in the next five years.

Players have urged the government to go a step further to come up with standards to enable the farmers and the off-takers to export in more restrictive markets like the European Union. It is emerging that because Uganda doesn't have standards for avocado oil, some off-takers have used standards from Kenya and Rwanda to access foreign markets.

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