BY DOREEN NASASIRA  – The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said there is a need for a holistic approach in investments using multi-sectoral planning and implementation of programs and projects if agriculture in Uganda is to be modernized from subsistence to commercial production.

The Premier made the remarks while officiating at the Declaration of Partnership signing ceremony between the Government of Uganda and USAID, which took place at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday.

PM Rugunda in a group photo with US Ambassador, Malac, some of the officials from Uganda and U.S Gov’t who attended the Declaration of Partnership signinig ceremony at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday(PMPU Photo)

The Declaration of Partnership signed by USAID and the Government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries, is a collaboration that aims to reduce poverty and hunger in Uganda for the next five years. The partnership is implemented under the U.S government initiative called Feed the Future that focuses on combating hunger and poverty.

The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda noted the partnership is of great importance to the country since the prioritization of agriculture is well articulated in Uganda under vision 2040 and NDPII, which evidently shows that the sector is considered to be the main thrust of the country’ s economic growth.

He added that agriculture provides great avenues for economic growth and inclusion particularly from the women and youth, and thus guided on the focus areas for interventions.

“The emphasis of interventions, therefore, has to be focused on commodity value chains, research, provision of extension services, control of pests, vectors and diseases, provision of critical farm inputs, promoting sustainable land use and soil management which are all key in achieving increase household incomes and national export earnings in the agricultural sector,” Dr. Rugunda said.

In addition, he highlighted that there is a need to address the post-harvest handling, improve market access and infrastructure as well as value addition.

The Prime Minister also noted that government is undertaking measures to enhance the sector of agriculture through intensifying research in the sector to address the climate change effects of pests, diseases and vectors, and prolonged drought, streamlining of the agriculture extension service delivery, providing critical farm inputs like tractors and other implements and establishing irrigation infrastructures among others.

The Premier also appreciated the U.S government for supporting Uganda to build trade and investments among other projects especially its mission’s effort to market Uganda’s speciality coffee through strategic business linkages. He affirmed the government’s commitment to working with the U.S. Government.

PM Rugunda(R), Ambassador Malac(C) and Feed the Future’s Barry(L) partake in the coffee cupping session during the Declaration of Partnership signing ceremony at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday(PMPU Photo)

PM Rugunda(L) and USA Ambassador, Malac(R) sign the Declaration of Partnership as Agriculture Minister, Ssempijja(back row Right),Feed the Future Deputy Administator, Barry (C) and USAID Ag. Mission Director.

The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja noted that Agriculture is one of the key sectors driving the transformation of Uganda’s economy, contributing   25% to National GDP and employing over 70% of the country’s population.

Ssempijja thanked USAID for supporting the Agricultural sector in a number of areas including developing the African Agriculture strategy among other policies and building the Agriculture data centre for agriculture statistics.

He highlighted that the Ministry of Agriculture will be working with Feed the Future to promote inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led growth, strengthening resilience among people and systems and ensuring that the population is well nourished especially, women and children.

The U.S ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac noted that the U.S government is dedicated to improving agriculture and food security in Uganda, adding that 200 million farmers in Uganda have already benefited in terms of increased sales and productivity through working with the Feed the Future initiative which has been operating in the country since 2011.

She also highlighted that stunting in children has reduced by 22% in areas where Feed the Future is operating in Uganda.

The Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Feed the Future, Maura Barry said the initiative  will help to address food security in the country and is committed to accelerating economic growth, increasing food security and enhancing resilience.

The event was also attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the minister of state for Animal Industry, Joy Kabatsi and the minister of state for Agriculture, Christopher Kyabazanga among others. ENDS.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019