President Yoweri Museveni has applauded Ugandans and the different support organisations and Partners for their efforts towards ensuring that the changing climate and agriculture practices do not deprive Ugandans food, adding that nations that are deprived of food suffer hunger, poverty and extreme levels of financial strain.

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PM Rugunda commissions  multi- purpose block for Research on behalf of the President at Ngetta Zardi during the World Food Day Celebrations in Lira on Sunday. (Photo by PMPU)

President Museveni’s speech was delivered by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented him at the World Food Day celebrations organised under the theme “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too” at Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Lira district on Sunday.

The President said that government was committed to ensuring that all Ugandans prosper through a number of mechanisms that have been put in place such as agriculture modernisation and through the relevant International agreements and regional initiatives that have been signed and ratified.

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PM Rugunda inspects some of the stalls during the World Food Day Celebrations in Lira on Sunday (Photo by PMPU)

“To ensure food security in the current changing climate, we need to change to the use of fertilizers and shift from depending on rains to irrigation. We must replenish the nutrients in the soil, and that is how the theme “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too” will be relevant to our citizens,” the President said.

Mr Museveni also said that there was need to commercialise agriculture and phase out subsistence farming in order to enhance both food and income security in Uganda.

Regarding to the Agricultural sector, the President said 13 issues have been identified to boost agriculture which include, converting 68% of the homesteads from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture, promoting linkages between the research institutes and the farmers and increasing the use of fertilizers among others.

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PM Rugunda shakes hands with FAO Country Rep.Jallow as they chat  with Min. Agric Ssempijja (pink tie) and  RDC  Lira, Mwaka (black coat) during the World food day celebrations in Lira on Sunday (Photo by PMPU)

The President called upon the Ministry of Agriculture to acquire solar pumps assembled and manufactured in Uganda in order to overcome water scarcity issues for irrigation, adding that the ministry should solve the issue of tractors and their management.

The Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja said that the World Food day presents an opportunity to the country to discuss salient issues such as the need to combat climate change as well as transform agriculture into a competitive sector of the economy.

The Minister urged the people of Uganda to put in more effort to ensure that Uganda becomes an exporting country.

“I call upon leaders in all capacities to organise farmers into strong competitive farming organisations and associations in order to target and compete favourably in the external global markets” Hon Ssempijja said.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative, Al hajji Jallow thanked the government for its efforts of putting in place policies and regulations regarding climate change.

Mr Jallow emphasised that the impacts of climate change will continue to affect food security in terms of increased temperatures that increase transpiration leading to water loss in crops and the heavy down pours that cause soil erosion, landslides and other events that affect agriculture yields if not addressed appropriately.

The Director General National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO),Dr Ambrose Agona pledged NARO’s commitment to Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo and also urged Ugandans to invest in other methods of agriculture such as irrigation and planting of pest and drought resistant crops in order to enable Agriculture to thrive as well as increase household incomes.

The function was also attended by different Members of Parliament, Development Partners, and Government officials.

The Prime Minister also on behalf of the President commissioned a multipurpose block at the Research Institute.

ENDS

By Doreen Nasasira