LUWEERO —The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga has highly commended the private sector for their idea of supplementing government’s efforts in transforming the agricultural sector.
Minster Kyakulaga who was represented by Dr. Patience Rwamigisa, the Commissioner for Agriculture extension services and skills management from the Ministry of Agriculture was presiding over Sasakawa Africa Association’s 35th anniversary in Africa and 25 years in Uganda.
The celebrations were held on Friday, December 10 at the home of
Zirobwe Agaliawamu Agri-business Training Association (ZAABTA), a higher level farmers organization headquartered in Zirobwe, Luwero District.
“Let me take this opportunity to recognise with gratitude the Nippon Foundation of Japan and the Sasakawa family who have been so gracious as to fund the Sasakawa Africa Association activities to promote agricultural development among rural small holder farmers in Africa for the last 35 years and Uganda for 25 years, and still continue,” the Minister said.
The Minister called for more PPPs in Uganda for closer working relations with the private sector as government focuses on Agricultural Industrialisation.
The Minister also noted that Public Private Partnerships have agricultural bolstered the sector by increasing incomes and employment for farmers through enhanced access to technology in the form of improved inputs, strengthening relations between traders and farmers, and access to agricultural credit.
“Market access is, of course, essential for the PPPP to be effective and strengthens commercially-oriented farmer associations/ remote rural farmers to engage profitably in commercial markets. The One stop Centre Association Model embraces all this which is also in line with Agro-industrialisation, a key focus under the National Development plan 3”.
The Minister recognised the role played by Sasakawa in Uganda in “promoting extension, farmer education and improvement in crops on the farm. We will always pay tribute to your efforts.”
He revealed that most of Sasakawa models have been adopted by MAAIF and rolled out across the country.
Dr. Joselyn Kabasiita Nyamutare, Sasakawa Africa Association Uganda Country Director said the Association has over the past 25 years, supported Uganda’s smallholder farmers through transferring improved agricultural technologies.
This, she said, has enhanced food security and household incomes of smallholder farmers.
With funding from the Nippon Foundation of Japan since inception, Sasakawa today operates in 75 districts and reached out to over 1.5 million smallholder households and 400 Sub counties, trained over 4,180 extension agents.
She said this has been done in collaboration with various partners and stakeholders that support agriculture at various levels of the value chain.
Sasakawa programmes operate within the government extension structures and has further strengthened this by establishing Community Based Facilitators (CBFs), who are selected from farming communities and trained to complement delivery of extension and advisory services to smallholder farmers.
Beneficiary districts of Sasakawa Africa Association programs include Oyam, Lira, Gulu in the North;
Jinja, Tororo, Kamuli, , Iganga and Mityana.
Others are Mityana, Nakaseke, Mukono Ntungamo, Lira among others.
Professor Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o, Chair of Sasakawa Africa Association who spoke via Video link called for Africa to add value to its agricultural products.
She said rich nations export value added products. Poor countries export their raw materials…if it is produced in Africa, value should be added in Africa.
Doing so. She said, it will increase Africa’s share in global markets.
“African farmers will not sweat for nothing.”
Uganda is one of four focus countries for SAA, which has just celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mali are its other main areas of operation.
Everywhere, Sasakawa brings an ability to deliver expert advice through local field workers who make regular visits to partner villages.
They draw on the knowledge and experience that has been developed over decades by the organization and that has its roots in the distinctive personal contribution of its founders.
SAA was born out of a pioneering collaboration between the philanthropist Sasakawa Ry?ichi, former US president Jimmy Carter, and Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Prize–winning plant specialist who was one of the chief architects of the 1960s “Green Revolution” in South Asia.
Shaken by the terrible suffering caused by the African famines of the mid-1980s, Sasakawa contacted Borlaug to suggest working together to help the continent find solutions and avoid future disasters.
When Borlaug objected that he was already well past retirement age, Sasakawa pointed out that he was ten years older still. Age was no excuse for standing aside, he said.
With support from Carter, for whom African development had been a key concern since he left the White House, SAA was launched as an organization dedicated to boosting food production in sub-Saharan Africa.