WORLD BANK: Agriculture key to ending poverty in Uganda
Kampala, Uganda | A World Bank country report on agriculture in Uganda has concluded that greater focus on the Northern and Eastern Regions will be needed for Uganda to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. This is important, the report adds, to reduce the social and political tensions that can emerge from stark differences in economic development across regions.
The “Uganda – Agriculture Sector Public Expenditure Review” report that was launched at Protea Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday, aims to guide policymakers on where and how best to invest in Uganda’s agriculture sector. The report that also analyzes the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures was produced at the behest of partners – Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF).
This is Uganda’s second agriculture public expenditure review (AgPER) since 2010. By producing it, the government and the World Bank bring to the fore the best policies to achieve Uganda’s Vision 2040 and the transition to middle-income status.
Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Pius Wakabi Kasajja launched the report with a panel discussion that included Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga, an avid farmer.
The report hailed government for realizing agriculture’s potential, but warned that it has to improve the quality and effectiveness of public expenditure in the sector to succeed.
“Efficient and effective spending on agriculture would help the sector to achieve its potential to contribute to inclusive growth, create employment for the country’s rapidly growing and predominantly young population, and ultimately to reduce poverty,” the report stated.
It states that “this new AgPER report aims to identify how public spending can best support agriculture to deliver growth through increased productivity, stronger resilience to climate change and other production risks, and more effective private sector engagement in the provision of public goods in the sector.”
East and Northern Uganda
The report hails the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan for a policy that ensures the Northern and Eastern Regions receive specific policy attention because of their higher poverty rates and potential for instability. The report calls for even more support for the region as there is a decline in.
“More than three-quarters of people aged 15–24 engage in agriculture as their first job, mostly in primary production. An analysis of six Sub-Saharan countries shows that transforming their food systems from a focus on primary production to market-oriented agri-food value chains could create more jobs between 2010 and 2025 than the rest of the economy.”
According to the Ugandan poverty assessment report (2016), regional variations in poverty are large and increasing, with most of the poor concentrated in the north and east – almost three in four residents (74 percent) live below the national poverty line.
In 2006, approximately 68 percent of the poor lived in the Northern and Eastern Regions. By 2013, this proportion had increased to 84 percent. About 47 percent of the poor live in the Northern Region and another 37 percent live in the Eastern Region.
“Uganda’s agrifood system can play a significant role in enhancing employment opportunities for the
the country’s predominantly young and rural population,” the AgPER report says.
According to the AgPER report, “the agriculture sector is particularly important for young Ugandans, who are the majority of the population: 80 percent of Ugandans are below the age of 35 and, with a median age of 16 years, Uganda has the youngest population of any country in the world.”
Original Article: The Independent
Lack of Agronomists worries grape farmers in Mbarara
Grape farmers in Mbarara are concerned that they are earning less from the crop due to the absence of an agronomist to offer expertise on the processes for growing and harvesting the crop.
There are more than 200 grape farmers in Ibaare, Nyamatojo and Nyakayojo, all in the South Division of Mbarara City, where more than three hills are fully covered with the crop. They are mainly planting Muscat and Karmen, which thrive well in semi-arid areas.
But the farmers said that they are growing the crop without clear information on the ideal varieties of grapes grown in Uganda, and knowledge of soil management, site preparation, planting, pruning, pest and disease control, fertilizer application as well as harvesting.
By nature of their work, agronomists work with farmers to help them grow the best possible crops, based on their extensive knowledge of chemistry, biology, economics, earth science, ecology, and genetics. They usually conduct experiments to develop the best methods for increasing the quality and production of crops and develop methods for protecting crops from weeds, pests, and harsh climates.
Alex Asiimwe, the Chairperson of Mbarara Grape Farmers Cooperative Limited said that without a specialist in the region, many of them are left to gamble with the crop. Often, he says, they struggle to manage the spread of pests in grape plantations.
James Mugabi, a grape farmer said he once lost more than 25 tons of grapes to fungus, which he didn’t know and failed to get the best drug. He narrates that once the crop has been attacked by either a pest or disease, the entire plantation is destroyed.
Allan Namanya, a grapes farmer from Katojo said the absence of an agronomist is costing them a lot since grapes are considered the most lucrative crop at the moment. He says that a kilogram of grapes costs between 2,500 and 3,000 Shillings and a bottle of wine costs 20,000, yet it can even cost much higher than this if they are advised on the right farming practices.
Mbarara city Agricultural Officer, Vincent Mugabi, said that the department also has a shortage of personnel knowledgeable about the relatively new crop for the area. He wants the government to consider taking them for training to acquire knowledge.
Grapes are harvested twice a year, in April/May and November/December seasons. They were introduced in Mbarara at Nyamitanga hill the Catholic seat by missionaries in the 1960s.
Original Source: URA via The Independent
Farmers in Napak want security forces deployed in gardens
A section of farmers in Napak District is demanding for the deployment of security personnel in gardens to prevent attacks by suspected Karamojong warriors.
This follows a message that was sent to one of the phones belonging to the community member in Nabwal sub county threatening people to stop cultivation or else their cattle will be stolen. Suspected warriors have also been dropping leaflets in the villages warning farmers of possible attacks in case they risk going to cultivate in their gardens.
Robert Koryang, a resident of Lotome trading center, says that they are worried of going to their farm gardens which are far away from their home because of threats from the cattle raiders.
Koryang said the warriors are still hunting for cattle and they see the farming season as an opportunity to target farmers who use oxen for ploughing.
He observed that the persistent insecurity in the region frustrated their efforts to cultivate last year leading to a hunger crisis.
Judith Anyakun, another farmer recalls that early last year a suspected raider chased them out of their farms before making off with four oxen that were used for ploughing.
She suggested that the security forces should be deployed in their settlements nearer to the fields so that they are able to respond to any attack that may occur during farm activities.
John Paul Kodet, the LCV Chairperson for Napak, says that they are taking the threats seriously because the warriors have been issuing warnings to the communities before attacking.
Kodet said they have distributed seeds to the farmers but he is skeptical if communities shall be able to cultivate due to threats from suspected warriors.
He noted that some villages in the sub-counties of Lopei, Lokopo, and Lotome are very distant from the military installations and this puts them at high risk of being attacked.
Kodet appealed to the government to tighten security in the targeted areas such that people will be able to cultivate without fear.
Denis Okori, the Napak Resident District Commissioner said that the security forces already have the intelligence about the planned attacks and measures have been put in place to protect the communities.
Okori said they have designed strategic plans on how the deployment will be conducted and therefore farmers should not get worried because the government is trying everything possible to ensure there is peace.
He also confirmed receipt of the phone used for sending threats and it has been taken to the Internal Security Organization for tracking.
Okori urged the communities not to worry but instead clear the gardens for farming in order to fight hunger in the families as security does its part to protect them.
Last year, the residents of Napak district suspended the use of oxen for ploughing over fears of being attacked by suspected warriors. The cattle were only kept from the confined kraals and only released during the day for grazing, and returned in the evening when the army took responsibility for keeping them.
Original Source: URN via The Independent
Mbarara struggling to contain Rift Valley Fever, no livestock quarantine yet
The government is reluctant at imposing the livestock quarantine on Mbarara despite registering five confirmed cases of death among humans resulting from Rift Valley Fever, the Resident District Commissioner, Emmy Turyabagyenyi Kateera has revealed.
According to Kateera , when they informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries about the outbreak, they deployed a team on the ground to manage the situation. Mbarara District Veterinary Officer, Andrew Bakashaba, says that registered fifty cows infected by Rift Valley Fever in Rwanyamahembe Sub County on different farms.
He, however, says that they are currently managing the situation through sensitization. Bakashaba has warned residents against eating meat from animals that have died on their own, noting that Rift Valley Fever is only transmitted from animals to humans through infected meat.
He has also asked people to always watch out for meat that has a veterinary medical stamp as proof that it’s been tested and found to be clean. Turyabagyenyi said that they have directed extension workers to hold engagement and sensitization meetings with farmers and livestock traders on how to do self-preservation on their farms and the movement of animals.
He said they asked the Ministry of Agriculture to hold on imposing a quarantine as they monitor the situation on the ground noting that if the situation goes out of hand they would be left without any choice but to announce the quarantine.
He says they have deployed veterinary doctors at all known slaughter slabs and asked them to double-check the meat before and after it is delivered to butchers. Dr. Richard Atuhairwe, the in-charge of Bwizibwera Health Centre IV, says that the disease was detected among 30 people, and results from Uganda Virus Research Institute returned positive. He says that five of the thirty have since died.
Rift Valley Fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic fever that is most commonly seen in domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats and can also cause illness in people. It is caused by the Rift Valley Virus. Meanwhile, a Quarantine has been imposed on Byembogo Village in Nyabisirira Town Council after a case of foot and mouth disease was confirmed on one farm.
Turyabagyenyi says a farm belonging to one Mr. Mungonya with over 1500 cattle had been stopped from sending out cattle and animal products like milk from the farm. He says that they have also temporarily closed the Kyeshema livestock market that is shared between Kiruhura and Mbarara districts noting that Kiruhura had last week closed its side.
He says they are now moving to vaccinate all animals in the village as they monitor the situation.
Original Source: URN via The independent
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
Six cattlemen opposed to the Tilenga oil project-related forced land eviction have been granted bail but will remain in prison…
DEFENDING LAND AND ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS4 days ago
Court dismisses criminal case against the eight land rights defenders in Kiryandongo district for want of prosecution.
MEDIA FOR CHANGE NETWORK2 weeks ago
Persecution: The prosecutor’s office is turned into a tool to harass locals for opposing land grabs to give way to the oil project in Mid Western Uganda.
STATEMENTS2 weeks ago
Joint statement: AfDB should open spaces for civil society and communities, during the Annual Meetings and beyond.
NGO WORK5 days ago
Press statement: CSOs call on NEMA to disclose Bugoma forest restoration plan
NGO WORK4 days ago
EACOP Was Anchored On Disinformation, Persons Affected By Pipeline Declare