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Ateker, however, pledged that Opiyo will be included among the role model farmers in the district and that he should benefit from the farmer’s special grants.

By Christopher Nyeko

GULU: Oscar Opiyo, 25, a peasant farmer and a resident of Bulker, Oding in Gulu district, has impressed officials from the state house in charge of agriculture with his rare horticulture.

Mr. Opiyo, whose academic level stopped at primary seven, has since 2014 ventured into tomato growing. In the business, he has made many profits, which have helped him buy pieces of land, marry a wife, and change his economic status.

Mr. Opiyo disclosed to the state house officials that he sat the primary leaving examination in 2013 from Bucoro primary school, Gulu district, and scored an aggregate of 22, but he never enrolled for higher education due to the financial status of his parents.

For a decade, Opiyo has since ventured into growing tomatoes on his ancestral land in Bulker, village Oding Parish, Unyama district, with the little agricultural skill he acquired during his primary schooling.

Rose Kabagenyi, senior presidential advisor on agriculture and coordinator for the four-acre model, told this news portal that she was impressed with Opiyo’s resilience and focus on his business.

Rose was on Wednesday, June 7, launching a four-acre model farm in Acholi, where she paid a courtesy call to Opiyo’s two-acre tomato garden, which encroached onto government land.

The state house official directed the Gulu district agricultural department and political head to offer agricultural extension services to Opiyo’s farmers so that he could improve on the venture.

‘’He is the category of people in the community the president always advocates for to be supported under the parish development model,’’ she said.

Oyet Samuel Agwani, the assistant manager of the Acholi zonal youth skilling center, assured that though he had encroached on the portion of government land, he would not be evicted soon, but he would be enrolled to enlighten his agriculture under youth skilling programs since he is now a role model farmer in Gulu district.

In the first farming season, Opiyo had injected about two million shillings to cultivate his two-acre tomato garden; however, due to the current dry spell in the region, he hopes that he will get only eight million shillings, a drastic loss of the estimated 15 million he was expecting to earn.

He therefore appealed to the government to assist him with a simple irrigation machine to help him respond to the drought.

Opiyo’s major customers are market vendors from Kitgum, Gulu main market, Cereleno market, Olayoilong market, and Unyama market.

Meanwhile, Opiyo Christopher Ateker, the Gulu District LC5 chairperson, blamed the agricultural extension workers for failing to offer extension services to the farmers in the district.

Ateker, however, pledged that Opiyo will be included among the role model farmers in the district and that he should benefit from the farmer’s special grants.

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