Minister Fred Bwino challenges Agroecology actors to scale up Agroecology in the Country

Minister Fred Bwino challenges Agroecology actors to scale up Agroecology in the Country
Minister Kabyanga Fred Bwino shares a photo moment with board members of PELUM Uganda. Photo/Courtesy

The minister of Agriculture in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Fred Bwino has called on Agroecology actors to embrace agroecology practises so that they can realize more premiums for their products. 

He was speaking at the 5th National Agroecology Actors Symposium held in Kampala running under the theme; "Advancing just, inclusive and resilient food systems through agroecology held by PELUM Uganda as part of their agroecology week activities.

While addressing agroecology actors and stakeholders, the minister emphasised the need for certification of players/actors in this line of business so that they can realize huge returns on their products.

"We have made positive strides in terms of scaling agroecology but we should not sit back. I challenge you to work more to scale up Agroecology in the country and as individual smallholder farmers, you stand to benefit alot if you get admitted in this campaign."

"When your farm is a certified organic farm, your products will fetch premium prices. There is need to certify agroecology farms because this is wider and the premiums are more. There is ready market for your products as long as your certified." Minister Bwino expressed.

He also noted that Uganda is not doing badly in terms of organic agriculture standing at number four world over.

"Globally, there are about 58 billion hectares under organic agriculture and Uganda has a share of about 260,000 hectares under organic agriculture (approx. 0.5% of the global average.)"

"It's important to note that Uganda is one of the four major countries in terms of the number of organic farms, the other 3 countries being Italy, Indonesia and Mexico, this shows that we are not doing badly as far as organic agriculture is concerned."

He added that, "Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa that has included Agroecology in our updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC's) which were submitted to the UNCCC ahead of the previous Conference of Parties (COP 27) held in Egypt as part of our commitment to enhance our efforts towards building climate resilience and mitigation within agriculture, forestry, land use subsectors."

"The National Agroecology Strategy is an essential framework for guiding the transition to more sustainable and environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and the involvement of organizations like Pelum Uganda is crucial in shaping this strategy." He noted.

He also added that; "As government we have done alot of things that demonstrate our commitment to agroecology, this has been through;

1. Research - this has been spearheaded by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO). Through this, Government has directed efforts towards improving and conserving agricultural biodiversity by promotion of farmer managed food systems which are critical in promoting agroecology.

2. We are trying to operationalize the national and community gean bank which are provided for in the national seed policy of 2018 and this is one of the avenues of ensuring that we improve and conserve agricultural biodiversity.

3. MAAIF together with non-state actors have embarked on a process of creating the national agroecology strategy as one of the moves towards having a supportive legal policy framework and as of now we have a draft.

4. The ministry also joined the Agroecology coalition that was birthed in the United Nations Summit that was held in NewYork in 2021 on the day of accelerating systems through agroecology.

Bwino recognizes that the ministry to some extant has not lived up to their expectation and have witnessed gaps in the process most especially legal, monetary and policy frameworks. These he mentioned include;

- Conclusion of the draft on genetic resources for food and agricultural policy which is key for sustainable management and conservation of our nutritious plants and animal genetic resources.

- The pending agriculture bill which will operationalize the already existing national agriculture policy. 

- we also need to conclude on the formulation of the national strategy for scaling up agroecology in Uganda which is bring developed by MAAIF in collaboration with partners like PELUM Uganda.

The symposium attracted a number of stakeholders from different sectors including farmers, ministers, members of parliament and agroecology actors among others.