On Thursday 28th September 2023, the Uganda National Farmers Federation in partnership with Trias Uganda and the Belgium Embassy in Uganda organized a National Multi-Stakeholders Policy Dialogue under the theme: “Positioning Farmers 4 Better Agro-opportunities,” held at the Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala.
The dialogue attracted over 70 participants mainly farmer leaders from District Farmers Associations (DFAs), officials from different Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.
UNFFE secretariat identified Key resource persons from among others the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), Uganda National Metrological Authority (UNMA), and District Farmers Associations who made a presentation on different thematic areas.
The main presentations included the following:
- Presentation of issues emerging from the Farmers in the Project Districts by UNFFE/DFA representatives
- Presentation on the Emerging issues in the Coffee sub-sector: A glance at the European Union guidelines on due diligence and how prepared is Uganda by UCDA
- Presentation on the seasonal weather outlook and implications on the farmers’ activities by UNMA
- Presentation on access to Irrigation opportunities for smallholder farmers by MAAIF
- Positioning Farmers for better accessibility access to extension services by MAAIF
- Presentation on Gender Equity and Social Inclusion in Agriculture Sector by Ministry of Gender
- Presentation on the Funding and investment opportunities for the Farmers’ Organizations by PSFU
- It should be noted that UNFFE’s main mandate is to identify, mobilize, organize, empower and coordinate linkages with different industry service providers both from government and non-state actors.
While speaking at the dialogue, Consolata Acayo, the Assistant Commissioner, Information and Communications at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)who represented the Minister of Agricultural indicated that the ministry is committed to strengthening its working relationship with UNFFE to provide increase services delivery.
She, however, challenged UNFFE to continue forming stronger and sustainable farmer groups that increase farmers’ bargaining power for markets, access to quality farm inputs, and where highly needed services such as extension can be accessed with ease. “Whereas the government is still challenged with power man gaps, especially in extension, farmers groups play an important role to easy service delivery,” Acayo said.
In his remarks, Dr. Dick Kamuganga UNFFE president extended a sincere vote of thanks to the presenters, development partners and government of Uganda through the Ministry of Agriculture for creating an enabling environment for the sector to grow. He also indicated that UNFFE will continue to work closely with all sector players to transform the lives of smallholder farmers by creating direct linkages and coordinating partnerships.
Since January 2022, UNFFE has been implementing a project entitled; Expanding Civic Space for Inclusive Development for Family Farmers in Uganda which aims to support the efforts of the family farmers to increase their voice in the policy and decision-making processes at National and District Levels.
The project that is being implemented in the 20 Districts of Uganda is spread in Northern, Western and Southwestern Uganda. The 20 Districts include Kamwenge, Kyegegwa and Isingiro in Western Uganda, Arua, Adjumani, Koboko and Moyo in West Nile, and Lamwo and Kitgum in Northern Uganda. Other districts will include, Kasese, Kabarole, Masindi, Hoima, Kiboga, Gulu, Oyam, Agago, Apac, Nebbi, and Zombo.
The implementation of the project has increased farmers’ involvement and participation in Civic engagements at the District and sub-county levels as well as the national level. From these engagements, several issues limiting access to services and opportunities have continuously been raised in regard to inclusion, democracy and empowerment of the grassroots farmers to access service delivery.