Agriculture Minister, Tress Bucyanayandi, has defended the proposed reforms in the national agricultural external service system, saying they are necessary for the sector transformation.
The minister was yesterday speaking at the 2nd roundtable discussion attended by ministry of agriculture officials and non-state actors working group on the proposed national agricultural extension service reforms at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.
According to the proposed reforms, a specialised agency will be created to support the extension system by helping farmers to access potential market opportunities.
The agency will also facilitate the private sector to effectively secure the needed timely agricultural inputs and integrating NAADS in Local Governments production structures.
The reforms will also support the development of an efficient private sector input distribution system and separate promotion of inputs from the extension service delivery system.
The National Coordinator of Food Rights Alliance, Agnes Kirabo (R) welcoming the Minister of Agriculture, Tress Buchanayandi (L) accompanied by Commissioner of Agriculture, Beatrice Byarugaba (C) during the opening of the 2nd Colloquium on Agriculture Extension and Advisory Services Reform in Uganda on 3rd Apr,2014 at Sheraton Hotel. Photo by Peter Busomoke
The proposed reforms also seek to create the departments of extension and skills management and agricultural investment and enterprise development in the directorate of agricultural extension and advisory services.
"Some of these reforms seek to improve the quality of training offered in universities and agricultural colleges.
We are going to focus on practical agricultural training," Bucyanayandi said.
The NAADs coordinators, according to the proposed reforms, will be phased out and given an option to join main stream production departments.
The district production coordinators will be strengthened to be technically and administratively responsible for agricultural programs in the districts.
If the reforms are approved, Local Governments will be empowered to plan for the agricultural sector, offer agricultural extension services, monitor and evaluate performance of the sector programs among other functions.
They will also be required to collaborate with the National Agricultural Research Organizations on matters pertaining to agricultural research and put in place and implement appropriate bye-laws.
Agnes Kirabo, the national coordinator of Food Rights Alliance, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations in the field of sustainable agriculture and food security said that the reforms should address the declining trend in the performance of agricultural sector from 7.9% in 2000 to 0.9 % in 2010/11.
"This decline is manifested in all the three sub-sectors of agriculture: crops, livestock and fisheries," she added.
The number of farmers accessing extension services and national budgetary allocations to agriculture, Kirabo said, was declining. "There in funding from 4.6% in 2001 to 3.2% in 2013 which is way below the 10% share Uganda pledged," Kirabo added.
But the minister said the performance of the agricultural sector was improving saying, "If it was not improving we would not be exporting food. We are producing 5m tonnes of coffee, 250,000 tons of rice and we are also seeing an improvement in tea and cotton," Bucyanayandi explained.
From New Vision
The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of Uganda Coffee Development Authority wish to congratulate His Excellence the President of the Republic of Uganda, Y. K. Museveni, the Cabinet, Members of Parliament, the Coffee fraternity and all Ugandans on this auspicious day as we celebrate the NRM's 28th Anniversary.
When Joseph Nkandu set off to work with coffee farmers to boost productivity in 1999, hardly did he anticipate that by now, the works of his hands would have positively transformed the social and economic statures of more than half a million farmers and earning him international recognition.
Nkandu 40, also a prominent coffee farmer was by end of last year elected an Ashoka Fellow by the World's leading network of highly revered social entrepreneurs, extraordinarily change makers who find new solutions to social problems without necessarily targeting personal gains (profit).
Nkandu's life Fellowship at the Washington-based body (Ashoka) comes as a prestigious award for successfully leading a team-work at The National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), a body that has for more than a decade worked with coffee farmers, guiding them through the dynamics of the modern farming, marketing and entire coffee value chain.
Coffee farmers from Western Uganda dominated the high rankings during this year's national coffee quality competition aimed at boosting courage among coffee value chain stakeholders to consistently be quality sensitive while handling the crop during production.
The annual Taste of Harvest (ToH) competition, spearheaded by The Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) program is the annual cupping training and competition held in coffee producing member countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
During the recent national competition for Uganda, the competition committee got 65 entries from different Robusta and Arabica coffee players. Kagango Coffee Farmers Association (Sheema district) emerged top of the Robusta category after scoring 84.65 points while the Kabarole district based-Kibagha Coffee Farmers Group Druger under Karangura Modern Peak Farmers Association led the Arabic category with 86.7 points
Both top winners are part of the 160 coffee farmer association members supported by The National Union of Coffee Agribusiness and Farmer Enterprises (NUCAFE) in matters of value addition, multi-level quality control and quantity enhancement for more financial returns.
NUCAFE executive director Joseph Nkandu noted that the local and international recognitions the body has attained vindicate the relevance of creating farmers groups that enables easy outreach in offering them developmental services.
Kabum Coffee Farmers Association from Kapchorwa also appeared as the first runner-up in the Arabic category.
Judges the Coffee Quality Institute of America awarded points basing on the physical attributes of coffee the beans (size and defects), roast appearance, fragrance, aroma among others.
According to the information available with AFCA, the program begins with an annual national ToH competition in each AFCA member country to determine the best National coffee lots which qualify to be show cased at the prestigious African Fine Coffee Conference and Exhibition seeking to boost marketing.
EAFCA organised the Uganda competition in partnership with the Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Kyagalanyi Coffee Ltd and Simba Café.
ToH competition also aims at providing coffee producers, millers and exporters an opportunity to showcase their coffees and compete and learn from among themselves.
KAMPALA - Uganda's coffee exports rose 7 percent in December from the same period in 2012 as farmers sold more of the commodity to raise money for the holiday season, a source at the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) said on Wednesday.
Uganda exported 257,976 60-kg bags of coffee during the month from 240,403 bags in December 2012.
"I think farmers were forced to sell larger volumes of stock because they needed money for Christmas and the holidays but also there was ample sunshine which was crucial in quick drying of the beans," the source at the industry regulator UCDA told Reuters.
The source added that the country earned $25.4 million dollars from the exports in December, down from $30.1 million in the year ago period, thanks to variations in coffee prices.
Uganda is one of Africa's biggest coffee exporters and the crop is one of the government's main sources of foreign currency.
From New vision