The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Uganda has launched the process of developing the Country’s Programming Framework (CPF) for the period of 2021 – 2025.
FAO promotes projects in the agricultural sector concerning poverty eradication, food and nutrition security, agriculture mechanisation, pests, vectors and disease control capacity building of farmers, climate change awareness and mitigation campaigns, all which contribute significantly to the overall objective and great importance of agriculture transformation.
Government of Uganda has just launched the National Development Plan (NDPIII) with the theme of Agro Industrialization through programme approach planning and execution. The Agriculture Chapter of NDP III is actualized in the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan. This FAO initiative gives the opportunity for alignment, harmonisation and harnessing complementary synergies to change the face of agriculture in this Uganda.
“The support that FAO extends to Government of Uganda the Ministry, in particular, has seen the key strategic areas of Government investment in the agriculture sector take shape; Control of pests and disease control, Access to quality agriculture inputs, irrigation and water for agriculture production, Agricultural Mechanization, value addition and Agro-processing as well as Research and technology development. I want to appeal to the team developing this Country Programing Framework to give these key areas a priority, said Hon. Ssempijja.”
Government of Uganda in collaboration with FAO implements joint programs and activities for examples; World Food Day Celebrations which presents an opportunity for the country to reflect and create awareness on the global commitments to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG); End hunger, to achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture for a healthy and prosperous population; the Source of the Nile National Agricultural and trade show which brings different stakeholders and various actors along the agricultural value chains to learn and showcase new technologies for production, value addition, product development, commodity marketing among others.
FAO has also supported the development of the National Strategy for Youth Employment in gainful Agriculture value chains which focuses on; Strengthening the enabling framework for youth employment, support youth-oriented agriculture extension, improve youth education and learning, support youth entrepreneurship, Adoption to and mitigation of agribusiness risks and uncertainties; the Uganda –China South-South Cooperation Project Phase I and II which promotes the technologies in the 5 key areas of Horticulture, Cereals, livestock, Fish and Cross-cutting issues.
The strategy is being piloted and it is targeting youth along the agricultural value chains. We need to develop the capacity of youth and interest them to participate along the agricultural value chains and even to understand and participate in offering solutions to challenges affecting agriculture e.g. Climate change, application of science and technology and even to clearly understand issues of biotechnology and how they are useful to agricultural development.
“Collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and FAO has yielded a lot even when the sector is hit with stiff challenges, high risks and disasters. For example; FAO was handy in the fight against Avian Influenza in 2017, The Fall Army Worm in 2018, the severe and disruptive floods and droughts occurrences in various parts of the country, the most recent Desert Locusts invasion in 2019/2020 which were jointly successfully handled with invaluable support from FAO.”
Generally, agriculture remains the mainstay of Uganda’s economy and efforts should be directed at promoting investments in the sector for increased incomes and employment, food security and wealth creation. As I talk now, the country is food secure and acts a food basket for the neighbouring countries South Sudan, DRC and Rwanda.
The sector employs approximately 80% of Households (2014 census). The sector contributes to 26.2% to GDP and a base for the country’s industrial output. 53% of Export revenues (over 10 years) derived from agriculture.
Uganda has a target of increasing agricultural exports from the current USD 1.4Bn to USD 4Bn annually. These exports will be largely absorbed in regional markets VIZ; East African Community (EAC) and; The Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA). The bulk of coffee, tea, cocoa, cotton, fish and horticulture exports will target the high-value international markets.
All the above efforts form a common denominator towards the Agriculture sector Growth as well as agro industrialization which is the country’s agenda for the National Development Plan III (NDP III).