GOVT TO LAUNCH UGANDA’S NATIONAL AGRICULTURE POLICY ON FRIDAY

KAMPALA, Sept 3 — The Ugandan government will launch the long-awaited National Agriculture Policy (NAP) aimed at promoting food, nutrition security and improving household incomes, this Friday, with President Yoweri Museveni expected to preside over the function.

This was revealed here Tuesday by an official at the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) Secretariat, Tom Kakuba, who said the policy formulation was spearheaded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in consultation with other stakeholders.

It has taken seven years for the policy to see the light. The Cabinet approved it in September last year.

however, pro-farmers activists have protested that they were not involved in the national agriculture policy formulation and have question what would happen to other policy statements on agriculture.

Kakuba explained that the NAP was developed with the intention of harmonizing different policy statements to stimulate economic growth.

He was speaking during the high-level stakeholders’ dialogue which was held under the theme: “The National Agricultural Policy: A key to dynamic transformation of agricultural sector”, organized by Agric-ProFocus and other partners. It was attended by Members of Parliament, farmers, development partners and civil society organizations.

Kakuba pointed out that the agriculture policy would provide a framework to address challenges affecting agricultural sector and exploit the existing potentials. He listed the challenges as low productivity, low value addition and poor market access.

According to Kakuba, the priorities of the NAP would include increasing household food and nutrition security, increasing incomes of farming households, commodity specialization and agro-zoning. Other priorities are sustainable and reliable market access, sustainable use and management of agricultural resources and human resource development.

Farmer’s advocates are not impressed with the policy saying it will gather dust and will not be implemented if funds for the agriculture sector are not increased.

“I hope the policy will not be shelved and gather dust. We would want to know (what are the) concrete strategies for implementing it,” said Augustine Mwendya, the chief executive secretary of Uganda National Farmers Federation.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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