UNDP and COMESA launch new project to reduce climate change impact on agriculture in Uganda

18 Jun 2014

imageProject launch field visit: Minister of State for Agriculture, Professor Nyira Zerubaberi, taking notes while touring a maize garden of a farmer in Bulange Sub-county, Namutumba district, in Eastern Uganda at Bulange, Namutumba district (UNDP Uganda Photo-2014)

Namutumba - A project that will enable smallholder farmers use improved techniques to increase their yields, and incomes while also reducing the impact of future climate change on agriculture has been launched by government of Uganda.

The US $740,000 project, “Enhancing Adoption to Climate Smart Agriculture Practices in the Farming Systems of Uganda”, is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in collaboration with local governments. UNDP and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) are providing support to the project with funding from the European Union, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Norway.   

By supporting local farmers and ensuring the application and transfer of modern agricultural technologies, the project will increase agricultural efficiency for 6500 farmers and improve access to dependable food supplies for 30 schools and educational institutions in the five districts of Namutumba, Bugiri, Budaka, Busia, and Buyende in Eastern Uganda.

Furthermore, the project will facilitate farmers to plant 15,000 hectares of agro-forestry fruit trees and provide training to students and teachers to establish climate smart gardens in at least 30 schools to improve food security and nutrition. In addition, measures to improve agricultural inputs supply and produce markets will be put in place to help farmers develop smart agricultural enterprises, as well as developing a monitoring and evaluation system for climate agriculture technologies.

“This initiative will fight poverty at the household level and help us realize our development goals as a country”, said Professor Nyira Zerubaberi, the Minister of State for Agriculture, while officiating at the launch of the project on June 18, 2014, at Bulange sub-county, Namutumba district.  

He said government has signed a new partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to increase support to farmers’ association across the country, and promote irrigation schemes to improve productivity.

Wilson Kwamya, the Team Leader, Growth and Poverty Reduction, at UNDP in Uganda, said the new project builds on the success of the just ended UNDP-Norwegian supported project on “mainstreaming sustainable land management into activities of 6 districts in cattle corridor of Uganda”. Some 420 farmers in Kamuli, Kaliro, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Lyantonde and Sembabule districts successfully increased their agricultural yields to between 200 and 300 percent following adoption of conservation agriculture practices under this project.

“Through scaling up of the climate smart agriculture practices in this project, it is our hope that Uganda will move closer to achievement of Millennium Development Goals and also enrich the National Agricultural Policy framework through generating information relevant to draw national recommendations on promotion of climate smart agriculture”, Kwamya said.

Chikakula Miti, Climate Change Coordinator, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said the new project will provide local farmers with knowledge on how to develop their own methods and apply them to different crops. “We hope the project will have a multiplier effect as more farmers learn from the originally targeted group,” he said.

The launch was attended by Local council leaders from all the five districts, who thanked government, UNDP, COMESA and the donors for prioritising investment in agriculture, and  pledged to incorporate climate smart agriculture in their district development plans.

David Nkono, a 60-year old maize farmer who showcased how he had adopted climate smart agricultural practices during a pre-launch tour of his maize farm, said many farmers in the district and neighboring areas were having difficulties controlling crop pests and appealed to government for assistance. “We need extension services to be improved to help us deal with pests and have bigger harvests”, he said

Uganda’s agriculture, which is highly sensitive to fluctuations in rainfall, represents the basis of the national economy. It accounts for approximately 42% of the GDP and 80% of the jobs of the working population. Approximately 36% of Uganda’s land area is affected by severe land degradation, with soil erosion and nutrient depletion contributing 80% of all natural resource degradation in the country.

For Additional Information, Contact:

Paul Mwambu, Project Manager, Sustainable Land Management, UNDP                      paul.mwambu@undp.org                                                                                                                                          Tel: 0417112100/301

Stephen Muwaya, Project Coordinator Sustainable Land Management/UNCCD National Focal Point  Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. Plot 5, Kyadondo Road Block A, Legacy Towers, Nakasero P.O. Box 34518, Kampala, Uganda.