By Stephen Kafeero
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched the feed the future commodity production and Marketing Activity in Uganda.
The projects will be implemented in 34 feed the future focus districts and aims to reach 400,000 farmers. The districts were selected using several criteria including their production potential of three priority crops including maize, beans and coffee.
Both programs aim to increase access to markets and foster agricultural productivity through a public-private partnership to develop agricultural policy.
The Commodity Production and Marketing (CPM) program will boost the production and marketing of high-quality maize, beans, and coffee in the 34 focus districts. CPM will also address challenges that farmers face in increasing crop productivity and gaining access to competitive markets domestically, regionally, and internationally.
The Enabling Environment for Agriculture (EEA) program will be implemented in partnership with Ugandan private and public sector institutions and is designed to foster market conditions that are more favorable to agricultural development, trade, and adaptation to climate change.
EEA will also help the Ugandan private sector and civil society contribute to policy decisions related to agriculture development, trade, and climate change. This is intended to lead to a measurable increase in Uganda’s agriculture production and exports, and, as a result, an increase in rural household incomes.
Speaking at the launch U.S. Ambassador Scott DeLisi said that their fundamental goals of the Feed the Future Initiative are to reduce food insecurity, increasing incomes and improving the nutritional status of women and children. “We want a partnership that empowers Africans to access greater opportunity in their own lives, communities and countries,” he said.
He said that one of the ways to achieve the partnership is working closely with the Ugandan government to achieve the goals outlined in the development strategy and Investment Plan for Agriculture.
The Minister of Agriculture Tress Bucyanayandi said that there is need for advancement in Agriculture in the country and lauded the US government for this intervention.
Justus Rugambwa the Executive Director of the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Association (DENIVA) outlined some of the things that the program needs to consider including lack of access to information, limited availability and access to quality inputs especially improved seeds, lack of appropriate micro level technologies, limited availability access to appropriate labour saving technologies and lack of appropriate technologies for value addition and many others.
Stephen McCarthy the chief of Party for Commodity Production and Marketing Activity said that their interventions will employ a facilitative approach to market systems development working with and through the market actors like input stockists to cause industry upgrades that have tangible impact on farmers.