By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/ KMA Updates.
Kampala, Uganda: Ministry of agriculture Animal Industry & Fisheries is optimistic the new extension services strategy will increase productivity and revitalize the entire sector.
(L-R) 5th (C) is Hon. Bright Rwamirama the State Minister for Animal Husbandry other ministry officials and Members of Civil Society Organizations pose for a group photo after the event on Wednesday at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
The new draft focuses on developing mechanisms for packaging technologies dissemination, agribusiness development services, value addition & market linkages, strengthening food safety & nutrition coordination etc.
Rtd. Maj. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga State Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry & Fisheries speaks at the opening of national dialogue on Agriculture Extension Services strategy 2021/22 – 2025/26 draft at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
At opening of the dialogue on Wednesday, Rtd. Maj. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga Minister of State for Agriculture Animal Industry & Fisheries said that the old strategy needs to be reviewed in order to shape the new one.
“Consultants & other key resource persons have given guidelines along which we should assess the old strategy & questions we should answer if we are to have a new strategy that would suit current needs”. He quoted.
He informed that the ministry met with president & 6 focus areas were adopted such as seed quality, agricultural mechanization, disease & pest control & others.Dr. John Ilukor an economist with World Bank delivers keynote address during national dialogue on new Agriculture Extension Services draft . Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Economist Dr. John Ilukor, a keynote speaker at the event related productivity reduction limited knowledge on soils quality.
“The performance of crops is due to macro-nutrients in soil hence need for farmers to know the type & quality of soils but all this is possible with technical extension workers”. Dr. Ilukor said.
He sought for soil mapping in every region in Uganda since soils differ as this would help farmers to know what indulge in.
Hon. Victoria Ssekitoleko also a keynote speaker appealed to MAAIF not to always allow strategies rather look at having a sustainable one to cater for emerging issues.
She added, there is need to equip extension technical staff with skills of executing their work as well cites gap for such services in fisheries sector yet it is fast growing.Mariam Akiror the Advocacy & Communications Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA- Uganda Mission presents CSOs position on Agricultural Extension Services strategy during the national dialogue. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
While presenting CSOs position on the strategy, Mariam Akiror the Advocacy & Communications Coordinator at Action Against Hunger USA- Uganda Mission pointed need for beefing agricultural extension & advisory systems, strengthen institutional linkages, farmer organizations & equipment provision.
She called on the ministry to understand the gaps that constrain strategy implementation, sector development to generated responsive actions.
She also cited need for mindset change & training of agriculturalists, improvement on MDAs & CSOs coordination & specificity on the agricultural value chain.
Hon. Bright Rwamirama, State Minister for Animal Husbandry gives his remarks at close of the dialogue. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
In his wrap-up of the dialogue, Hon. Bright Rwamirama the State Minister for Animal Husbandry remarked that there is no country that has ever developed without effective & efficient extension services
He however appealed that there is need to align the strategy with the Parish Development Model otherwise it would die at birth.
“We cannot achieve safety of the sector/food if all systems are not working at their best & that’s why the private sector is key in scanning some issues that must be addressed to better agriculture in Uganda”. He quoted.