BY: ISAIAH KITIMBO
In a bid to promote better farming practices, a total of 546 extension staff selected from 29 districts in Northern Uganda have been empowered with practical skills to improve advisory services to farmers in Northern Uganda following focussed trainings in short-term courses.
The trainings were fully sponsored by Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) programme supported by the European Union.
The Minister hands over a certificate of completion to one of the participants
At an award ceremony where certificates of completion were issued by Makerere University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) on January 27, 2023, the Minister of State for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, said: “The training was designed to contribute to the larger goal of improving the livelihoods of the farming communities in Northern Uganda by re-tooling district extension staff on the key skills gap areas using participatory and hands-on approaches in providing advisory services to the farmers”.
Some of the motorcycles that were handed out to CAOs to support in the delivery of advisory services to farmers in Northern Uganda
Also, a set of equipment that included laptops, printers, projectors, cameras, GPS and motorcycles were handed over to the Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) of the targeted districts to complement the implementation of the acquired skills and knowledge of the Local Production Departments staff and in the delivery of advisory services to the farmers in Northern Uganda.
The Head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Jan Sadek, stated: “We have paid close attention to Northern Uganda and impressive progress has been made over the past 15 years with support from the European Union. Working together with the Government and partners through DINU, we have continued to invest in the region to respond to the challenges still faced by the people. Together, we have moved to connect the dots between sectors, actors and areas, in order to better achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development. This approach recognizes the crucial role played by local authorities in achieving development outcomes and ensuring service delivery. The training of local production extension staff contributes to this vision because it will boost the capacities of local governments to better fulfil their mandates and respond to the needs of the people”.
According to the DINU National Programme Coordinator, Ms. Pamela Kabahesi, OPM awarded a grant contract amounting to EUR 300,000 million or Shs1.2 billion to the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University last year to design and deliver short-term training courses for 546 technical staff of the Local Production, Community Based Services and Trade, Industries and Local Economic Departments of selected districts in Northern Uganda.
In total, 10 courses provided in 14 intakes were delivered under the Good Governance component of the DINU programme, which aims to improve the extension service delivery to farmers through enhanced performance of the Local Production Departments.
“The courses covered areas such as integrated pest and disease management, agribusiness and market linkages, farmer institutional capacity development including VSLA methodology, fish feed formulation and feeding, apiculture, fish breeding and hatchery management, animal feed formulation and dry season feeding, integrated pest and disease management, climate smart agriculture and postharvest handling, farmer institutional capacity development, agribusiness and market linkages, artificial insemination and financial management,” she explained.