MARACHA/ARUA. Participants in Arua and Maracha districts have endorsed the implementation of agriculture cluster development project (ACDP).

The intention is to increase household incomes through modern farming.

The ACDP project will be implemented in 42 districts across the country but cluster 12 districts which include Yumbe, Maracha, Nebbi and Arua will grow high yielding cassava varieties like NASE 19, NAROCAST 1, 2 and coffee.

During the Stakeholder’s engagement inception meeting organized by ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries in Arua and Maracha, the participants unanimously pledged to mainstream the program in their development programs.

“We want to pledge our support as Maracha district to embrace the program and encourage the beneficiaries to pay the cost sharing and work in collaboration and the district council is ready to play their role and build a strong committee to coordinate with lower local governments to make the program effective,” one of the resolutions read in part.

The district coordination team headed by chief administrative officers (CAO) was approved and memorandum of understandings signed between the districts and the ministry to implement the program in the selected sub-counties.

The deputy CAO of Maracha Mr Stephen Edema Budraa appealed to the district coordination team to embrace voluntarism in performing their duties without corruption.

“The most serious people in the developed world are farmers, nobody gets rich from office, those who want to get rich from offices will not retire from their offices because corruption is no longer lucrative, therefore embrace the ACDP program to make the ministry reward the district with another project,” Budra explained.

He was happy with the overwhelming attendance claiming that it is a sign the program will succeed in the district.

Maracha district vice chairperson Mr Robert Asiku appealed to the ministry to invest more resources in agriculture and improve marketing strategy.

He said specialization among the registered farmer groups and families will reduce land fragmentation and increase productivity.

Ms Daisy Eresu, the ACDP cassava commodity officer from ministry of Agriculture animal industry and fisheries said the endorsement will not become formal unless district council passes resolution in a meeting scheduled in December.

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She noted that nationals belonging to registered farmer groups willing to commit a minimum of 1 acre of land for cassava will be selected to benefit under the program.

Arua district production officer Dr Gordon Toa said the immediate task for the district coordination team would be to sensitize the farmer groups which have not been active to embrace the project.

He urged extension workers at all levels in the district to play their roles as expected. But Mr Herbert Jurua, one of the extension workers said they still have challenges of means of transport to reach the farmer groups as the motorcycles they had all brock down while others lack fuel.

67% of the project value is a grant from the donors but the beneficiaries are expected to use e-voucher system to pay cost sharing to the agro input dealers.

The ministry aims to reach 2.2 million people from at least 450 households country wide out of which 180,000 farmers will grow maize, 110000 farmers for coffee, 95000 farmers to engage in apiary, 40000 farmers to grow rice and 25000 farmers mostly in West Nile will plant hybrid cassava varieties.

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