KAMPALA – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has handed over more than 190 motorcycles to government agencies and organizations that are partnering in the implementation of various climate programs.
These programs include Scaling up Agriculture Adaptation to Climate Change in Uganda, Climate Resilient Livelihood Opportunities for Women Economic Empowerment for Karamoja and West Nile Regions of Uganda, Integrating climate resilience into agricultural and pastoral production in Uganda, through a Farmer/Agro-pastoralist Field School Approach.
These projects are aimed at building resilience and improving food security and livelihoods in the 29 districts of the country, particularly those in the cattle corridor, West Nile and Karamoja sub-regions.
While officiating over the event that was held on Monday 21st at Toyota Uganda headquarters in Namanve Industrial Park, FAO Representative in Uganda Mr Antonio Querido, said Zero hunger is not possible without tackling climate change.
He explained that if agriculture is to continue providing food for growing populations, it is critical to design and implement actions that help communities, particularly the rural poor in developing countries like Uganda, adapt and build resilience to climate change.
“FAO has a good selection criteria of implementing partners and we are sure they have a sense of responsibility and commitment to community change. It is our hope that these motorcycles will assist the movement of personnel of beneficiary government agencies and civil society organizations in providing the much-needed extension and awareness creation services to help farmers adopt climate-smart agricultural practices and build their resilience to climate-related shocks,” he said.
FAO is working with the government of Uganda, through Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry Water and Environment, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, and Ministry of Local Government to build local capacity at national, district and sub-county levels for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Mr Freddie Kabango the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) also noted that agriculture in Uganda is majorly rain fed and therefore prone to climate change.
He explained that climate change has impacted heavily on the prevalence of rainfall, quantity and distribution and has come with associated hazards notably pests and diseases, severe land degradation, extreme temperatures, loss of lives and habitats among others.
“All these have negatively affected production and productivity thus affecting farming communities’ livelihoods (food security and household incomes). There is a desire to have production area under irrigation at 1.5mha by 2040. In order to achieve that we will need to sustainably utilise our natural resources and to also come up with innovations/technologies which can help our farming communities cope with climate change challenges while meeting their ever changing needs,”he said.
Kabango added that this can be achieved through human capacity development through the soft and hardware approaches.
“I believe the above projects will help us build climate resilience into the agriculture sector which will effectively reduce vulnerability and improve community-level adaptation measures. As MAAIF we pledge our total support and we call upon the beneficiary districts to put the motorcycles to good use so that the project objectives can be achieved.”
Accrording to Ms Jesica Bitwire the Managing Director JB International and Resource Center, one of the implementing partners in the project, transport has been a big challenge in their operations.
“We have been promoting mushroom growing. With this help rendered to us, we shall be able to take workshops of promoting mushroom growing as resilient in the communities. Mushrooms can be harvested throughout the year and we are grateful that FAO has assisted us in our efforts of promoting food security,” she said
Mr Laban Rutare the ED Community Care for Development, another implementing partner says with mobility, they can be able to reach farmers and together they can address issues of poverty in the sector.
“Climate Change is no longer a theory, its reality. We think with capacity building and integration of all adaptable programs to climate change, we will move and poverty will be history,” he noted.
The 29 beneficiary districts that will receive motorcycles today include Gomba, Kalungu, Kiboga, Luwero, Lyantonde, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nakasongola and Sembabule in the cattle corridor; Nebbi, Zombo, Arua, Maracha, Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo and Adjumani in West Nile; Abim, Napak, Moroto, Amudat and Nakapiripirit in Karamoja; and Kayunga, Kamuli, Buyende, Amolator, Kaberamaido, Amuria, Katakwi in Eastern Uganda.
The projects geared towards supporting the government of Uganda climate change interventions through FAO in all these districts have been supported by the European Union, the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala and the Global Environment facility.