By Julius Migaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kansanga, Kampala Uganda: Speaking at Day 2 East African Food Security Symposium and Expo 2022, Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira, the National Director of Caritas Uganda said that the government is facing the challenge of trust from the public in most of its programs linked to agriculture and that’s why they have not lived to intended goals.
He gave an example of Caritas Uganda whose programs had sprouted because of the confidence farmer have in Caritas Uganda, adding that Caritas Uganda supports farmers and ensures effective monitoring to make sure that the support is put into proper use.
“Uganda’s government need to have charisma in its programs because their failure affects us all. This element is lacking. I implore the government to recruit more extension workers to oversee their programs and advise the population on how to go about them for their success”. Msgr. Ndamira.
(L-R): Aguti Betty Rose the Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Caritas Uganda, (2ndL) Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira, the National Director of Caritas Uganda & Fr. Hillary Muheezangango (R) the Director of Caritas Kasanaensis (Kasana Luwero Diocese) and the other listening to the panel of speakers on Day 2 of the East African Food Security Symposium and Expo 2022 at International University of East Africa. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
He mentioned that mentioned that Caritas Uganda organizes its farmers in groups and cooperatives across the country and makes sure that they are monitored in order to see that programs live to their intended goals, adding that Caritas Uganda also equips farmers with skills in various fields of farming for example, aquaculture;
where Caritas Uganda has established two aquaculture schools in Uganda with over 60% of women benefiting.
On the other hand, he lauded Uganda’s Government Especially Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) for sparing time always to engage players in the value chain especially Caritas Uganda to deliberate on serious concerns aimed at improving the entire sector.
Kimera Henry the Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Education Trust (CONSENT) emphasized that as well as the population is practicing agriculture, it is important that the quality of the food we eat and produce should be of good quality, adding that it was vital that the population understood that the quality of food they consume does not only come from the farm, it start before its even planted.
“The waters in the garden, the soils should be of good quality, the transportation to the market and processing and when it reaches consumers, it should as well be handled in a quality manner”. Said Kimera.
He highlighted that the food systems will not benefit us if we don’t follow it and see it through quality infrastructure, quality practice like good agriculture practices such that we don’t endanger the food.
Alex Bambona, Assistant Commissioner Food and Social Security at Ministry of Agriculture admitted that there were aflatoxins in the food we eat and that it was a key concern for government intervention because with it, the country cannot succeed in its agro-industrialization programme, commercialize, export and develop the population.
He said government was undertaking serious approaches on aflatoxins emphasizing proper post-harvest handling and food safety awareness, training for the whole population and infrastructure development for proper storage.
He revealed that Ministry of Agriculture has a project that supports lab development for aflatoxins management under Uganda National Bureau of Standards UNBS) and have developed bio control mechanism for aflatoxin management using atoxigenic strains method which is capable of outcompeting aflatoxin along the value chain which was high.
On Genetically Modified Organisms, Alex informed participants that the ministry does not promote any GMOs at all; although the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) was doing some trials and awaiting the passage of the enabling legislation.
“It will be naive for someone to think that GMOs are not there but of course on food, it may be a problem but it is widely used in the medical world”. Alex quoted.