Legislators commend Pakwach for sweet cassava growing

 By Geofrey Achora Jr.

PAKWACH: A team of lawmakers on the Agriculture Committee of parliament has appreciated the progress registered by the Abongo Women group in Alwi Sub County in Pakwach district in the implementation of an Agriculture cluster development project by embracing cassava growing on a large scale for commercial purposes. #WhisperEyeNews

The group comprising of 45 members is implementing cassava production on acquired 230 acres piece of land after it received 320 million shillings from the government in 2019 under the agriculture cluster project to implement the growing of sweet cassava.

The high-yielding cassava variety grown by the group mainly is NARICASS1 which the members say under optimal conditions, the cassava yield can reach 20 tones per hectare.

Photo caption: Janet Akech the chairperson parliamentary committee on Agriculture pose with a bag of cassava flour from the Abongo Women’s group in Pakwach district.

On the guided site tour by the committee on their progress, they were impressed by the success story of the group after it reported strides in possession of assets and purchase of another 150 acres piece of titled land to the group Name, Akech Janet Okoromoi the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on agriculture described the achievements of the group as exceptional

“We are impressed at the work at the site the way they are manning their machines the structures and generally organization because they are a group who are not looking at government to support them but they have been generating money through the sale of cassava,” she said.

As part of the capacity building, the farmers were trained on good agronomic practices, and post-harvest handling to increase their yields and quality of their produce for markets, Openji Bruno the group secretary remarked that this has eased sustainability

“The group is proud of having 250 acres of land, a store with a capacity of 50 metric tons, machines like hammer mill, chipper moisture meters, greater machine and collecting tank among others, “Bruno remarked.

Photo: some of the sacks of cassava are branded under the Abongo women group.

However, Robert Odia the Alwi Sub-county chairperson attributes the progress of the group to robust monitoring and supervision by all the stakeholders in the area

With most such associations at grassroots limping, Okumu Gabriel the Okoro county Member of Parliament in Zombo district challenged other groups in the West Nile region to emulate the success story of the Abongo women group as percuss to economic prosperity.

“What we want are our people to own the program because the government brings all this money for you to do better? In other circumstances we found the people thinking that government brings money to swindle   let the people in the region and it will make their life better” Okumu emphasized

The group intends to capture external markets but  to achieve this they want to  increase productivity through the provision of   tractors to address the challenge of Labour intensive,  However, Dr. Henry Opolot  Nakalet    the National Coordinator of Agriculture cluster development project under the Ministry of Agriculture animal  industry and fishery said this is in a plan to mechanization to boost commercial production

“Groups that are organized like this stands a huge opportunity to benefit from some of the tractors that the ministry will procure and for cassava is real is one great area we need to focus and mechanize,” Nakalet said.

Pakwach district belongs to cluster 12. Others are Nebbi, Arua, and Maracha and the project objective is to “raise on farm productivity, production and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specified clusters.