Excel Hort Agribusiness Incubator on 25th August, welcomed over 20 farmers to its head office located in Biharwe, Mbarara, Masaka road.
This is part of its efforts in supporting farmers in utilizing the irrigation infrastructure and water management to create businesses using water for production facilities in the 10 districts of Kyegegwa, Rukiga, Gomba, Lwengo, Mbarara, Kisoro, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Ntungamo, Mityana.
EHCAI in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment implements water for production interventions in the above-mentioned districts. The priority enterprise that cuts across farmers in all is hibiscus. which is being grown in 5 districts of Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabarole, Rukiga and Gomba.
The event featured a farm tour presided over by EHCAI Natural Resources manager, Robert Sabimana, where guest farmers were oriented on the operationalising of agribusiness incubator hubs, good agronomic practices, soil and water conservation practices and soil fertility management.
Speaking at the event, EHCAI Director General, Prof Alex Ariho challenged the farmers to rethink their farming models in light of COVID Interruptions. “We had to think again even when COVID hit, so we decided agro-processing was the way to go, now we are going to package and sell Hibiscus because we already had commitments with farmers, you have to rethink during a crisis, what am I doing with my plant waste for example?” he remarked.
The Director General earmarked on the water for production export enterprises and market access strategies where he told farmers about the registration of The Hibiscus Traders Association of Uganda intended to promote the export of Hibiscus as a key component in widening the market gap arising out of using water for business development in Uganda.
Guest farmers applauded EHCAI’s efforts to mobilize for hibiscus production and engaged concerning standard supply requirements.
The Director General also introduced the farmer beneficiary program intended to help their families take advantage of EHCAI’s skilling programs. “if you have a young child sitting at home in this season, let us help them get into the tailoring program, all you need is a small requirements fee, the rest is free.”
Charles Rutaro Kwehangana, 65, a host farmer from Rukiga District under the Water for a Production project and founder of CRK Agro Farm Enterprises was glad about the EHCAI’s and ministry of Water and Environment irrigation support and remarked.
“My farming has improved because of water for irrigation, now we can grow throughout the year, I have also earned from Apples since 2003 but the introduction of Water for production has specifically improved my vegetable growing especially on cabbages. “
EHCAI Agro-processing director Maureen Bamukisa also encouraged farmers to present EHCAI’s commitment towards quality control, product development and standardization.
Participants also discussed value addition on Hibiscus products. One farmer hailed the plant’s medicinal capability and how it cured him of a recent COVID-19 Outbreak. Hibiscus products like hibiscus juice, tea, and wine help stabilize ailments from high blood pressure to multiple mild outbreaks.
EHCAI continues to support farmers with agribusiness incubation services and currently, over 10 farms have been transformed into agribusiness incubator hubs, for example, CRK Agrofarm enterprise in Rukiga District, Rwengaju Older Persons’ Agribusiness in Kabarole District, Rweshande Modern farmers in Ntungamo District, Kirungu Model Farmers in Gomba District, and Caka Divine valley mixed farm in Mbarara district.