EXTENSION ACTORS URGED ON FARMER INVOLVEMENT IN CLIMATE AGRICULTURE PLANNING.
By Kezirone Wokubira
Agriculture Extension actors have been urged to put farmers first as they plan climate change and climate-smart agriculture technologies. According to Dr. Nakalet Opolot the Commissioner of Agriculture extension and skilling Programme at the Ministry of agriculture, Many Farmers have been left out in the planning process which makes it hard for scaling climate-smart agriculture technologies and their adoption across the country.
“It’s important to conduct research and extension at farmer level, we as extension professionals tend to plan projects at the centre, but whose projects are they? These are for farmers, lets stop taking things to farmers without doing a needs assessment and involving them. It is time for us to Invite farmers to participate in processes.” Said Nakalet.
The commissioner who was officiating at the first National climate smart Agriculture stakeholder’s dialogue, held at hotel African said the Ministry of Agriculture was also anxious to support the scaling of climate smart agriculture further urging extension actors to become smart in handling climate change issues.
“We need collaboration to strengthen climate policy and further to take climate action than become observers.” Adds Nakalet.
The stakeholder’s dialogue organized by Uganda Forum for Agriculture Advisory services is in the context of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)-XP4 project which prioritizes climate-smart agriculture (CSA) interventions through country fora of the African Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (AFAAS)..The project aims to facilitate the scaling of CSA activities towards improved food and income security at the national and regional level in Uganda.
Dr Nakalet also emphasized that for climate-smart agriculture to work there was a need to bring professionals and paraprofessionals together for harmonized messages to the farmers.
“Extension is also being promoted by non-professionals, this is a big risk, we need to capture data about of these and ensure we are all offering the best technologies to the farmers.” He said.
According to African Forum for Agriculture Advisory Services (AFAAS) Partnerships Director, Mr Max Olupot , UFAAS received a grant to implement a project titled ‘Enhancing the scalability of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) among Agriculture Extension Actors (AEAS) in Uganda’. The project aims to facilitate the scaling of climate-smart Agriculture activities towards improved food production and incomes both at national and regional levels in Uganda
“We are implementing the European Union (EU) initiative on the Development of Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DeSIRA) is targeted at boosting the transformation of innovations in agriculture and food systems in partner countries to make them more resilient to climate change while at the time responsive to development demands.” Explained Olupot.
|Olupot further explained that the initiative is implemented through continental and sub-regional organizations (SROs) for agricultural research and innovation, namely, FARA, AFAAS, ASARECA, CCARDESA, and CORAF. He said Specifically, the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) is charged with strengthening national agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (NAKIS) across member countries through its Country Fora (CFs) alongside its members and partners. “This is envisaged to lead to community-level impacts among the resource-constrained individuals among who are: smallholder households, women and youth agri-preneurs and pastoralists, as well as marginalized communities. “ concludes Olupot
The UFAAS Chief Executive officer Mrs Beatrice Luzoobe said the dialogue was supposed to create an information and knowledge forum for continuous engagement of AEAS actors at sub-national, national, regional and continental CSA events and to strengthen capacities of national AEAS actors to participate and contribute to the implementation of CSA activities. “We want to facilitate the uptake and up-scaling of CSA innovations, technologies and practices by all stakeholders and also to Engage stakeholders in the CSA discourse and profile CSA initiatives in Uganda “explained Luzoobe.