Cooperatives & Communities

Local dairy and maize farmers embark on knowledge-sharing mission to Kenya

KAMPALA, April 4, 2024 – In a bid to enhance Uganda’s agricultural sector, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations [FAO], in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries [MAAIF], recently flagged off 20 selected farmers under the Hand-in-Hand initiative aimed at empowering dairy and maize farmers. The initiative seeks to leverage advanced innovations and practices in dairy and maize value chains.

Uganda’s agricultural potential is undeniable, and initiatives like these underscore the commitment to harnessing it fully. FAO Country Representative in Uganda, Dr. Antonio Querido, emphasised Uganda’s role as the food basket of the region, highlighting the abundant resources and potential for not only feeding the nation but also contributing to food security across the continent.

“The journey to Kenya represents more than just a study tour; it’s a gateway to innovation, technology adoption, and market exploration. You will gain invaluable insights into improved production methods, market dynamics and technological innovations. The emphasis is not only on learning but also on fostering networks and partnerships, both locally and internationally, to scale up and transform the agricultural system comprehensively,” Dr. Querido noted.

Commissioner of Crop Production at MAAIF, Alex Lwakuba reiterated government’s commitment to agricultural transformation, emphasizing partnerships with commercial farmers and the importance of mechanisation, irrigation, and farmer education. “These are critical pillars in the quest to modernise and enhance productivity in the agricultural sector,” he said.

According to John Bosco Okwaja, Principal of the National Farmers Leadership Centre, the rigorous training undergone by the selected farmers focuses on empowering them with the knowledge and skills necessary for driving change within their communities. He adds that continuous learning and knowledge-sharing underscore the commitment to sustainable agricultural practices and poverty reduction.

The initiative aligns with Uganda’s National Development Plan III [NDPIII] and the Agro-Industrialisation Programme Implementation Action Plan, prioritising increasing agricultural production, ensuring access to markets, and fostering an enabling environment for the private sector. Investment in agriculture is recognised as a catalyst for sustainable development, driving economic growth, improving food security, and championing equality.

The officials said the study tour to Kenya represents a pivotal moment in Uganda’s agricultural journey, providing a platform for farmers to engage with advanced technologies, market dynamics, and value-addition processes.

“By equipping stakeholders with the necessary knowledge and skills, the initiative aims to catalyse positive change within the dairy and maize value chains, ultimately contributing to poverty reduction and food security in Uganda.”

According to the officials, the collaboration between FAO, MAAIF, and other stakeholders underscores a shared commitment to agricultural transformation in Uganda. “As the selected farmers embark on their journey to Kenya, they carry with them not just the hopes of their communities but also the potential to drive meaningful change within Uganda’s agricultural landscape,”

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