02 December 2022, Uganda: CABI and senior officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) other stakeholders are engaging in high-level talks with a view to greater collaboration towards ensuring better sustainable food security in the country. An initial meeting took place at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa in Kigo.
Also in attendance was Dr Morris Akiri, CABI’s Senior Regional Director, Africa, as well as Commissioners in MAAIF, Directors of partner and research institutions, NGOs, and representatives of donors from the agricultural sector working group.
High on the agenda was a dialogue with key partners on emerging social and environmental challenges – such as the spread of invasive species, crop pests and diseases which affect yields and livelihoods, and mindful of the need for access to markets and inclusive innovation and technology for addressing these challenges.
As part of this, the delegates were also appraised on CABI’s existing work in Uganda, including the new global program, PlantwisePlus.
Working in partnership, PlantwisePlus will go one step further in harnessing the very latest technology to ensure that farmers have all the information at their fingertips so they can more readily mitigate a fuller range of potentially devastating crop pests and diseases.
They will also be able to produce the quantity of food required and improve the quality of food grown, in a changing climate.
Dr Akiri said, “Agriculture is a core sector of Uganda’s economy and the largest employer. The sector accounted for 79% of national poverty reduction between 2006 and 2013 implying that investment in the sector is critical for poverty reduction.
“With a thorny youth unemployment challenge, raising agriculture incomes is critical to reducing poverty, creating job opportunities and generating incomes.
“CABI is strategically poised to contribute to national strategic goals of enhancing productivity and competitiveness in the sector by working in partnership to help farmers increase their yields and livelihoods.”
Uganda and CABI have had a long association particularly through the East African station of biological control in Kawanda, Uganda between 1962-1973, extending to broader collaboration in recent years.
This includes providing NARO with free access to CABI’s Crop Protection Compendium and Pest Risk Assessment Tool, horticulture, forestry, animal health and aquaculture compendia, and has been working in close collaboration with MAAIF, NARO and other partners to implement many development and capacity-building projects in Uganda.
For example, the Common Market for Eastern and South Africa’s Standards and Trade Development Facility-funded project, ‘Removing barriers facilitating trade,’ simplified measures and barriers hampering trade between Uganda and its neighbours and the Good Seed Initiative improved access to quality seed for indigenous vegetables.
CABI is currently pursuing to have a host country agreement signed which will formally establish its presence in Uganda to strengthen future collaboration.
It is envisaged that this enhanced presence in the country will help forge even greater collaboration and capacity for both CABI, MAAIF, NARO and other partners to tackle the various social and environmental challenges affecting Uganda’s trade in fruit and vegetables and its food security.
Hon Kyakulaga Fred Bwino MP, Uganda’s Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Agriculture), said, “I feel honoured to officially join hands with CABI – a partner who has consistently demonstrated commitment to improving the livelihoods of Ugandans through primarily providing science-based and practical solutions to plant health problems.”
Other CABI-led work in Uganda includes the innovative One Health initiative that is offering joint crop and livestock services for smallholder farmers in Uganda. This integrated crop and livestock health advisory service is enabling smallholder farmers to address major health and production problems affecting crops, livestock and food safety.
In 2022, CABI, is also, with funding from the Darwin Initiative, protecting biodiversity through the release of a biological control agent Acerophagus papayae as part of Integrated Pest Management for the papaya mealybug in Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda.
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