Uganda: Don’t Dry Produce On Bare Ground – Minister

Government has banned the drying of all agricultural produce on bare ground.

Drying the harvests is a common practice among farmers and dealers.

Mr Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, said drying produce on bare ground predisposes produce to moulds and affects the quality.

“When the produce is placed on bare ground during open-sun drying, it causes contamination and this is the reason why the quality of our seeds like maize is doubted when we take them to other markets,” Mr Ssempijja said while launching the construction works for 17 coffee processing factories at Katwade Village, Masaka District at the weekend.

The minister said police and local leaders, including sub-county chiefs, parish chiefs, and village chairpersons have been directed to enforce the ban and arrest whoever is caught drying the agricultural produce on bare ground.

“Agricultural produce ought to be dried and threshed on clean tarpaulins or mats and this is what we expect local leaders to enforce,” he said.

Mr Ssempijja also told farmers that they can grow crops which do not require drying.

“Drying any agriculture produce on bare ground is criminal,” he said.

This comes days after both the governments of Kenya banned the importation of maize from Uganda, saying it contains aflatoxins.