February 27, 2024

Organic farmers want government to operationalize the national organic agriculture policy to boost production, marketing.

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KAGADI

As the Global demand in organic products is continuing to grow, a section of modal  organic farmers in Kagadi district have asked government to quickly kick start the operationalization of the National Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) of 2020 to enable them boost their production and also access the international market of organic products.

In September 2020, The Honorable Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries accompanied by Hon. Hellen Adoa the Minister of State for Fisheries and other officially launched the National Organic Agriculture Policy 2020 at the Ministry Headquarters in Entebbe to disseminate the approved National Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) 2019 and Implementation Plan to different stakeholders, kick-start the implementation of the NOAP and Plan and generate ideas for initiating the Organic Agriculture Bill and Organic Agriculture regulations.

Organic farmers say that they are being constrained by several challenges like citing disasters, low prices of their products, pests and diseases, lack of inputs and marketing of outputs asking government to render some assistance to them.

Apollo Baguma, the program Manager for Empowerment of small holder farmer families through resilient  Organic farming and collective marketing  (ESFROMA) working with URDT an NGO operating in Kagadi says that Kilimo organic farmer learning center organizes farmer field day events where farmers come together in the field and learn from a modal  farmer the good organic farming methods and technologies.

Baguma said that the ideas developed during rotational working and learning visits have yielded much better fruits in Nyakasheema, Namirembe and Kaisolya cooperative society.

“We are currently working in 75 farmer groups in different sub counties of Kibaale, Kagadi and Kakumiro and all these groups are using farmer family learning groups and organic farming. This helps farmers to implement better organic and climate resilient farming methods” said Baguma.

Some of the Organic Agricultural products displayed during the exhibition at Nyakasozi in Kabamba Sub County, Kagadi. Photo by Thomas Tumwebaze

Thaddeo Tibasiima  Kahigwa the regional Director  Kilimo Organic farmer learning center, who donated 10 beehives to modal organic farmers said that a number of successes have been registered and that Farmer family learning groups have demonstrated team spirit but lacks some organic resilient farming methodologies, organic agricultural innovations and new technologies like in bee keeping, collective marketing.

He tasked the government to quickly operationalize the National Organic Agriculture Policy which was passed last year to create a favorable environment for organic farmers in Uganda.

“We call upon the government especially now that we have the National Organic Agriculture Policy which was passed last year, now we call upon the implementation of this policy to integrate organic extension advice at Sub County level and also  include for example organic fertilizer in the provisioning of support for farmers under operation wealth creation” Said Thaddeo Tibasiima Kahigwa.

Tusiime Deogratius, the Kabamba sub-county Agriculture officer, highlighted on the benefits of adopting organic farming as opposed to dangers of using chemicals to gardens of crops which he said leads to extinct of flora and micro-organisms responsible for ecological balance.

“We are going to see that more groups are trained in the district not only Nyakasozi but we are actually going to enroll it to other sub counties” said Tusiime.

Tusiime said that as Kagadi district Local Government, they will continue partnering with Non-Governmental Originations to promote organic farming.

During the COVID 19 lockdown that saw all education institutions closed, young children have also engaged themselves in organic farming practices and in Kabarole district the youths are in bee keeping which they say boosts agriculture production.

Sarah Mbambu 17 (Right) and Owen Baluke 10 (Left) are members of the young organic farming movement called Kanyamura Youth United Bee keepers Group found in Karangura village Kabarole district. Photo by Thomas Tumwebaze

The National Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) is a unique policy that was intended to enable the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to regulate, coordinate and harmonize the efforts towards harnessing Uganda’s competitiveness through organic agriculture.

Disseminating this policy will increase visibility and appreciation of the NOAP among stakeholders and contribute to credibility of the organic sub-sector.

The launch would also enhance targeted actions towards organic production and development of the local and export organic markets that will contribute returns to the national economy.

KOFLEC is the organic farmers family learning Group Academy which offers both virtual and physical interaction facility for organic farmer facilitators and advisors to share experience and concrete knowledge on farmer advisory approaches, innovation,  organic resilient farming methods, marketing and advocacy, It coordinates her activities in central and western Uganda, Tanzanian parts of  Zanzibar Islands among others.

These organic farmers are dealing in coffee, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, pineapples among others.

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