Jackson Lakor, the Gulu district production officer says the village agents will be trained in pest control, disease management and proper post-harvest handling to minimize food losses among smallholder farmers.
Gulu district is recruiting 90 village agents to improve delivery of agriculture extension services and marketing among smallholder farmers in villages.
Three of the agents will be stationed in each of the 60 parishes in the district to interact with farmers and link them to markets for their produce.
Jackson Lakor, the Gulu district production officer says the village agents will be trained in pest control, disease management and proper post-harvest handling to minimize food losses among smallholder farmers. He says the agents will also revolutionize agriculture marketing by providing smallholder farmers market information delivered through the use of mobile phones.
Lakor says they expect the agents to help farmers in field preparations, proper farm management practices and post-production services such as storage and marketing in view of improving the quality of produce.
Kenneth Oketa, the Gulu district commercial officer says they opted to recruit village agents to guarantee quality of products and eliminate exploitation of smallholder farmers in the agriculture value chain.
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The agents are expected to be deployed in March after two months of extensive training. Lakor says they expect to enrol more youth in the programme to inspire fellow youths to embrace agribusiness in the region.
According to Lakor, they believe that the village agent model will nurture many smallholder farmers into progressive model farmers in the villages.
Justin Simpleman Obol, the Laroo division LCV councillor is optimistic the village agents will fill the vacuum in agriculture extension services in many villages in the district. He says the recruitment of the village agents is in line with the district mission to increase food security and alleviate poverty.
Tom Oree, the Deputy Gulu district Resident Commissioner says many smallholder farmers are unable to market their produce in International Markets because of poor quality. He urged the village agents to prepare the ground for formation of farmer cooperatives required for driving economic growth in the country.
According to UN Food Agency FAO, millions of metric tons of food get lost in poor post-harvest handling in Sub Sahara Africa.