Agricultural Activists advocating for Ugandan farmers to embrace Organic farming in Uganda have launched Five years project that will build the capacity of Ugandan farmers towards embracing Organic farming in the country.
The project code named Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) project will be implemented by Eastern and Southern Africa Small farmer’s forum alongside other Institutions such as Uganda Marty’s University Nkozi, PELUM Uganda and KULIKA Uganda respectively.
The EOA project Manager Rashida Kabanda said the project will be Implemented in four Districts in the Country namely Mukono, Luwero ,Masaka and Wakiso.
Speaking during the Launch of the project at Ntejeru Town Council Community Hall in Mukono District. Kabanda said many farmers are Ignorant about Organic farming but at the end of the five years period which the project will last they expect many farmers to have shift organic farming practices.
“We need to build the capacity of our local farmers that is why ESAFF and other Institutions are going to implement this project the overall aim of the project is to is to main stream EOA into agricultural production system by 2025 in order to improve agricultural productivity , food security access to markets and sustainable development,” she said during the Launch of the project.
The Ecological Organic Agriculture project apart from being implemented in Uganda the same project is being implemented in other African Country’s such as Kenya Tanzania, Rwanda Ethiopia, Mali Senegal Benin as well as Nigeria.
However during the Launch of the program other farmers who attended the meeting challenged Government to commence the implementation of the recently passed National Organic Agricultural Policy that was passed by the Cabinet in July 2019.
The farmers also wants government through the Ministry of Agriculture to sensitize the farmers about the policy which they urges that since its enactment government has not come out to create awareness of the policy to the stakeholders (farmers and Extension Service providers} who are the technical people to implement the objectives of the policy.
Christopher Wali a former Agricultural Extension services providers and also a farmer from Mukono District says that failure by the Government to create more awareness about the policy and its delay in being Implemented may delays local farmers to embrace Organic farming practices which many small holder farms are willing to embrace due to its social , Environment and Health values.
“97% of the rural farmers are not aware of the policy yet the documents guides farmers and policy Implementer on how to practice organic farming, government should wake up and carry out massive sensitization to the farmers about the policy this will guide the farmers to make decisions on which farming practices they should adopt,” he said.
The Agriculturalist noted that Uganda has comparative advantage in practicing organic Agriculture because of its favorite weather environment and also the high demand for organically produced Agricultural produces on the market both locally regionally and internationally.
On July 29th 2019 Cabinet approved the National Organic Agricultural Policy whose objectives are; To strengthen organic agriculture research, appropriate technology development and utilization, To promote production, processing and marketing for organic products among other objectives of the policy is to enhance appropriate post-harvest handling practices and value addition to organic agricultural products and lastly to strengthen environmental conservation, indigenous biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources.
Speaking at the launch of the project Hakim Baliraine the ESAFF Uganda chairperson notedthat once Ugandan farmers adopt Organic farming this will help in mitigating the high rates of Environmental and Biodiversity degradation and also save many lives Ugandans.
“Conventional farming has played big role in degrading our Environment because of the pollution from the inorganic agricultural inputs such as fertilizers, herbicides among other agricultural inputs. Apart from degrading the Environment foods grown in conventional practice has health hazards that is why we are seeing many Ugandans suffering from dangerous diseases like cancer,” he said.
He challenged Agricultural Extension services providers across the country to main stream Organic Agricultural practices in their Extension services this will help farmers to understand the Economic importance of Organic farming.
Ecological project will be spearheaded by Eastern and Southern Small scale farmers forum Uganda chapter in collaboration with other Institutions such as Uganda martyrs University Nkozi ,Kulika Uganda and PELUM Uganda and it have Four pillars.
The four pillars according to Kabandaare Research and Applied Knowledge, Information Communication and Extension, Value chain and market Development and lastly Support and cementing, management, coordination and Governance.
Caption Kabanda (on left)explaining the project to the participants as other officials listen this was during the Launch of the project. At Ntejeru Sub county Community Center in Mukono District.
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