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Hungry youth resort to unsustainable agriculture options.



Young people are in an age group that requires optimum utilization of all food groups and consumption of considerable amounts of food.

However, much as Uganda can produce adequate amounts of food, not everyone can get sufficient food and the quality of food is poor, says Emmanuel Ssemakula, a programmes officer at Resilient and Wquitable Marketing Systems with Food Rights Alliance in Uganda.

He says changes in social and cultural aspects have driven the youth to consume less quality food, mostly junk foods, leaving out organic and balanced diet foods.

The inability of young people to access and afford nutritious food jeopardizes their growth, development and future productivity, says Youth Development Organisations in Uganda Led by Food Rights Alliance, a coalition that brings together Civil Social Organisations working in the field of sustainable agriculture and food security in Uganda.

It is estimated that 48.47% of Uganda’s population is between the ages of 0-14 years and 21.16% are aged between 15-24 years, according to 2022 population data. 78% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30.

It said hungry youth most often resort to unsustainable practices such as deforestation, overfishing or unsustainable agriculture to meet their immediate food needs.

This can reduce the availability of resources for future generations, says the youth development organisation.

Also, although Agriculture employs 65% of the working population, of which 63% are youth, production is predominately in the hands of the ageing farmer population whose average age is 50 years. Worldwide, there is huge pressure on agriculture. “Nowadays, farmers are not producing a variety of foods, they are focused on crops such as maize, basic crops that can be sold commercially,” Ssemakula says.

“Quality foods such as vegetables, fruits and others that balance the diet are not produced in enough quantities.”

The youth in Uganda today are opting for non-agricultural careers in Urban areas and overseas.

According to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Middle East is experiencing an influx of Ugandans looking for domestic jobs with at least 7,724 migrant workers departing Uganda on a monthly average in 2022. However, youth involvement in agriculture can promote the adoption of ecofriendly practices, contributing to soil health, water conservation, and biodiversity preservation.

Uganda Friday, August 18, celebrated International Youth Day six days after the global International Youth Day celebrations held on August 12, under the theme, Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World was selected.

Green Skills include knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource efficient society. Ssemakula says the youth can plant trees.

He also says for everyone to access quality food there is need to change mindsets. “The youth have less appetite for involvement in agriculture, and are not considering the value of sustainability, yet they are the future of the next generation. The unawareness last led them to not focus on agriculture.”

He says the threat in the next few years is having a population that is only interested in eating junk food and less interested in growing and consuming organic food.

To get the youth into agriculture and growing food, Ssemakula says there is need to sensitize the youth. He says government and all institutions promoting agriculture should support the youth to access among other knowledge, finances, farm inputs, land and agriculture extension services to engage in farming.

He says there is a huge agriculture knowledge gap that must be filled and digitization of agriculture to fit the modern world, and there should also be equal participation of all demographics in terms of age groups and genders in agriculture.

According to the United Nations, seven out of 10 young people want to be actively engaged in the green transition that involves moving from a carbon-based economy to a more sustainable economy.

The interest stems from continuous warmings from environmentalists that climate change as a result of destruction of the environment will lead to changes in biodiversity- which is the variety of life on earth, consequently affecting people.

However, in Uganda, there has been massive natural resource degradation demonstrated by declining land productivity, falling forest and wetland coverage, loss of biodiversity and rising pollution levels.

Reports say the situation has been worsened by the country’s high vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change such as droughts. Consequently, Uganda is facing declining levels of growth.

However, the green transition will lead societies including the people in Uganda to achieve a sustainable way of life so that human activity no longer endangers the planet.

The green transition simultaneously generates economic, environmental and social development outcomes sustainably without leaving anyone behind including the future generations.

It will bring about improved health and social outcomes.

The green transition will also grant additional opportunities in the form of employment creation (green jobs).

A total of 8.4 million jobs will be created for young people by 2030, as a result of the green transition towards a greener world being driven by the youth.

It will spur economic growth as well as reduce future greenhouse emissions by 28% equivalent to 30.4 million tons of emissions by 2040, which is far above the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of 22% in Uganda.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the unrelenting conviction of young people is central to keeping climate goals within reach.

He says young people have been on the frontlines leading the charge for climate justice.

In Uganda Vision 2040 emphasizes that a green economy will contribute to eradicating poverty as well as sustaining economic growth, enhancing social inclusion, improving human welfare and creating opportunities for employment and decent work for all while maintaining the healthy functioning of the ecosystems.

However, according to the United Nations, Green skills demand is exceeding supply.

It says 60% of young people will lack the skills necessary to thrive in the green economy in 2030.

The UN says some disparities must be addressed. For instance, 67% of youth do not have digital skills due to the lack of basic resources.

Also, current occupational gender stereotypes are likely to persist stemming from the fact that in 2015-2021, 66%of green job transitions were done by men.

In Uganda, discriminative social norms, gender roles and stereotypes have discouraged young women from pursuing careers in fields related to green skilling. This has limited their exposure to their exposure to these opportunities and discouraged them from taking up roles that are perceived as more “masculine.”

The lack of visible female role models in green sectors has made it difficult for young women to envision themselves succeeding in these fields.

According to the United Nations, a successful transition towards a greener world will depend on the development of green skills in the population.

Source: New Vision

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National Coffee Forum Petitions Parliament Over UCDA Merger



Coffee stakeholders through National Coffee Forum say UCDA merger will disrupt the coffee sub-sector. Coffee is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange for Uganda

Coffee stakeholders through the National Coffee Forum – Uganda (NCF – UG) has petitioned Parliament through the Speaker over the proposed mainstreaming of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) into Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)

The government plans to merge a number of Agencies to the line Ministries in a move aimed at saving about Shs1 trillion annually. If the move succeeds, UCDA will be taken to MAAIF.

However, coffee stakeholders through NCF – UG say that they find the proposal to take UCDA to MAAIF untenable and detrimental to the coffee sub-sector.

NCF-UG is a private foundation whose membership includes farmers, processors, exporters, roasters, brewers and researchers, among others.

The Forum Chairperson Francis Wakabi says that mainstreaming the entity will negatively affect the achievements Uganda has attained in coffee production and export.

“This decision will negatively affect our access to the international market and will stunt Uganda’s economic growth opportunities by distorting the functions of UCDA that have stabilized the industry over the years,” said Wakabi in a petition dated February 21, 2024. The petition was copied in to the Chairperson of Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries as well as all MPs.

He adds that Uganda should not risk its achievements by tampering with UDCA that is the main contributor to our coffee success story.

“Mainstreaming it would therefore disrupt the many livelihoods that depend on the industry and adversely affect the badly needed foreign exchange for the country,” the petition reads in part.

As a result of UCDA coffee regulation, Wakabi says that Uganda’s competitiveness was elevated on the global market, ensuring high quality Uganda coffee and enabling Uganda’s coffee to displace that of Brazil and India in Italy and UK coffee markets.

“… World over, coffee is supervised and regulated by a specialized body like UCDA for purposes of institutional memory and specialized focus. Experience from Ethiopia and Kenya who disbanded their specialized coffee authorities and mainstreamed them back into the relevant ministries had to reverse their decisions after registering negative outcomes,” said Wakabi.

The Forum further says that the European Union (EU) buys over 60% of Uganda coffee, making it the biggest market for Uganda.

“The EU has introduced a new regulation called the EU deforestation regulations (EUDR) which bans export of coffee from deforested land, taking effect from 2025. This calls for farmer traceability and the EU commission in Uganda is already working with UCDA to implement the said regulations. They require a country to constantly monitor deforested areas and map all the farmers for purposes of implementation of the farmer traceability program to maintain a high standard of quality. It was reported that Uganda has achieved most of the requirements under the EUDR and required a few steps to be declared compliant. Monitoring and implementing the scheme for the millions of farmers is a tedious activity which requires a specialized unit that can be best implemented using the already established structures of UCDA. Disrupting the current UCDA structure will not only halt the progress made in achieving compliance, but also risk reversing the gains made,” added Wakabi.

He avers that UCDA has been able to greatly contribute to Uganda’s improved Coffee quality through implementation of programs such as certification of Coffee nurseries to ensure quality of planting materials, Provision of Coffee specific extension services and agronomy to improve production and productivity, Provision of technical expertise in Coffee rehabilitation, post-harvest handling practices and pest and disease management and provision of coffee processing equipment like wet mills to farmers and cooperatives to improve quality and promote value addition. The coffee stakeholders are worried that once UCDA is taken to MAAIF which is loaded with many crops and projects, coffee, a key source of foreign exchange for Uganda may not get the necessary priority. Coffee stakeholders argue that if indeed Parliament is a people-centred institution, it should listen to the views of farmers and other stakeholders and retain UCDA as a semi-autonomous agency.

“Given the above position with the attendant reasons, the NCF advises that the proposed mainstreaming of UCDA into MAAIF should not be implemented and that the proposed Bill No. 30 (part VII) be dropped in order not to disrupt the industry and the progress made under the stewardship of UCDA. All coffee stakeholders are unanimously in agreement with this position,” reads the petition in part.


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Govt to import 10 million vaccines to control cattle disease



Entebbe, Uganda.  Government is set to import 10 million doses of vaccines to enable scaling up of ring vaccination as the fight to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Ugandan cattle enters a new phase.

Cabinet chaired by President Yoweri Museveni on Monday also proposed that once ring vaccination is complete, farmers start paying for the FMD vaccines in a compulsory vaccination scheme, and thereafter, trade in animal products, will be restricted to those adhering to the plan.

Minister of Agriculture, Animal industry and Fishers Frank Tumwebazwe on Monday shared the resolutions after Cabinet laid out strategies to contain the disease that has hit 36 districts.

Cabinet agreed to create a revolving fund to enable procurement of sufficient FMD vaccines to facilitate compulsory bi-annual vaccination of the susceptible domestic animal population. It also approved a plan for farmers to pay for the vaccines while government covers other costs.

“Vaccination is to be made compulsory. Proof of vaccination will be a precondition for any farmer to sell any animal products,” said Minister Tumwebazwe.

“I appeal to fellow livestock farmers and stakeholders to understand and appreciate these effort as we steadily move to eradicate FMD in Uganda just like other animal diesases like rinderpest wre eradicated.”

Ntoroko veterinary disease surveillance team conducting FMD surveillance and sample collection

The 36 districts currently affected and under quarantine are Budaka, Bukedea, Bukomansimbi, Bunyangabu, Butaleja, Fortportal City, Gomba, Ibanda, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kasanda, Kayunga, Kazo, Kiboga, Kibuku, Kiruhura, Kumi, Kyankwanzi, Kyegegwa, Kyotera, Luuka, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Mbarara, Mbarara City, Mityana, Mpigi, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Namisindwa, Ngora, Ntungamo, Rakai, Rwampara and Sembabule.

All districts neighboring the affected districts are at high risk, under strict surveillance, and the authorities have been advised to remain vigilant.

These include Apac, Amolatar, Bugiri, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Hoima, Iganga, Jinja, Kabale, Kaberamaido, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kamwenge, Katakwi, Kasese, Kibaale, Kiboga, Kyenjojo, Mbale, Masindi, Mayuge, Mukono, Namalemba, Nakapiripirit,
Palisa, Rukungiri, Sironko, Wakiso and Soroti.

Tumwebaze assured farmers that in the next one or two months, his Ministry expects to receive and dispatch 2.3 million doses of the FMD vaccine to the affected and susceptible districts for ring vaccination scale-up.

He told parliament earlier that as a way of increasing availability of Foot and Mouth Disease vaccines in the country,
Uganda’s National Agiculture Research Organisation (NARO) has started the process of formulating and developing an FMD vaccine for Uganda.

Source: The independent

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Farmers losing Shs4 trillion due to livestock diseases



ScienceDirect has revealed that farmers in Uganda lose more than $1.1b (Shs4.1 trillion) in aggregated annual direct and indirect loss due to the rising spread of tick-borne animal challenges, with the commonest and economically damaging tick-borne disease being the East Coast Fever.

The livestock industry in Uganda and its productivity continue to be threatened by a number of diseases many of which are tick-borne related.

This, Dr Anna Rose Ademun, the Ministry of Agriculture commissioner animal health, said results from arcaricides that have become resistant, thus the need to ensure collaboration and get solutions to the problem.

“There are ongoing efforts by the Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to support diagnosis of tick resistance to acaricides at regional laboratory centres but this is not enough,” she said during the livestock industry key stakeholders meeting in Kampala, which had been convened to discuss and prioritise areas for tick control.

The stakeholders included veterinarians, extension staff, farmers, processors and government representatives.

Ministry of Agriculture is already working on the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative, which seeks to, among others, provide sustainable solutions to enable small-scale farmers maximise the potential of their cattle by developing and practicing methods that can successfully manage tick infections in cattle.

During the meeting, the TickAcademy App, which will support farmers in managing tick infestations was also pre-launched.

By the end of January, farmers and extension workers will be able to access the app’s educational content, which includes simple-to-watch films, to help them become knowledgeable about tick control.

Mr Enrique Hernández Pando, the GALVmed head of commercial development and impact, said the Managing Animal Health and Acaricides for a Better Africa Initiative will be important in tackling acaricide resistance challenges as well as help farmers and animal health officers to access creative methods of addressing the problem of acaricide resistance.

During the meeting, stakeholders jointly agree to train and sensitise field staff and farmers about tick management strategies that work, as well as strengthen the diagnostic infrastructure and testing capabilities for tick resistance and other animal health-related concerns.

Others will involve making it easier for farmers to obtain credit from savings institutions run by farmer groups at a reasonable cost so they may purchase specialized equipment for applying pesticides.

Mr Nishal Gunpath, the Elanco Animal Health country director south and sub-Saharan Africa, said they will support the Initiative to drive livestock in a better direction, noting that it will also help small-scale livestock farmers to maximise their potential.

Original Source: Daily Monitor

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