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NARO Introduces Transformative Agricultural Technologies at Labor Day Celebrations

The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) participated in International Labor Day celebrations in the resort town of Fort Portal, where they showcased transformative agricultural technologies with the potential to lift Ugandans out of poverty.

Chairing the well-attended event, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni stressed the need to harness the country’s abundant arable land resources to implement agricultural systems that generate high yields from small plots of land.

In an emphatic reiteration of his long-standing call for Ugandans to adopt the four-acre model, which focuses on intensive agriculture, the President stated that there are seven specific agricultural products: coffee, fruits, dairy, poultry, pigs, fish farming and crops. food crops for domestic consumption, which can exponentially increase income at the household level if properly mixed on small surfaces.

The President offered a clear distinction between intensive and extensive agriculture, noting that the former is suitable for crops that can offer high yields on small lands, while the latter involves crops that require large holdings to provide economic value.

He noted that Uganda has up to 40 million acres of arable land which, if well utilized, can generate more than 300 million jobs. He dismissed the perception that there are no jobs in Uganda and instead offered advice that what some Ugandans lack is the attitude and vision to engage in agricultural models that can generate income.

He cited the example of Mr Nyakana, a progressive farmer from Fort Portal, who implemented the four-acre model on his little over one acre to engage in dairy and poultry farming, now earning over Sh16,000,000. a month. Nyakana testified at the invitation of the President and revealed that he has since expanded into animal feed production and employs 15 people, 10 of whom earn a monthly salary, while 5 are casual workers.

The President called for the full participation of agriculture in the monetary economy through both intensive and extensive agriculture.

During the celebrations, NARO underlined the President’s key message by showcasing agricultural technologies, innovations and management practices with the potential to drive industrialization and generate large-scale jobs.

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Among the products were value-added products derived from coffee, including face creams, body creams, face and body scrubs, lotions and oils. These expand the product lines farmers can get from coffee beyond drinkable powder and beans.

Starting from the banana, NARO showed a prototype of hair extensions in different colors made with banana fiber. The extensions are reusable, non-itchy and completely biodegradable. There was also green banana resistant starch, a probiotic beneficial for gut health, and banana dyes that can be used to dye fabrics, which are less toxic and non-allergenic.

Using tea grown extensively in the Rwenzori region, NARO showcased a green tea drink and oil extracted from the tea, ideal for seasoning food, baking and salad dressing.

NARO Director General Dr. Yona Baguma earlier hinted that NARO’s deliberate intention was to generate technologies and innovations that can be scaled up to fully industrial products for job creation and poverty eradication. He stated that all products are scientifically developed and tested and NARO is open to partnering with private sector players to scale up its production.