UGANDA LAUNCHES GLOBAL BIOPROTECTION PORTAL
By Grace Musimami
Uganda has launched a BioProtection portal to help farmers reduce on reliance on chemical pesticides,the portal will help farmers, and pest management advisers identify, source, and correctly apply biocontrol and bio-pesticide products for their specific crop-pest problems. The portal has been at the Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Entebbe by Mr Pius wakabi Kasaijja the Agriculture Permanent Secretary who applauded CABI for a great initiative saying this was a stride in the positive direction for the ministry’s goal to eliminate poverty and transform farmers from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture.
“This is very welcome, we as a ministry are committed to transforming the agriculture sector, the establishment of this portal will go a long way to ensure we achieve our goals, we have been emphasizing clean production but this cannot be achieved without creating innovative information platform for our people to access all information,” said Pius Wakabi
The Permanent Secretary further urged the ministry officials and the private sector to ensure the platform is accessible and serves all stakeholders, saying this would be a useless effort if farmers cannot access the information.
“Make this a rich resource for a cross section of all stakeholders, we need sustainable models, especially given the challenges we faced in the past with interception of our fresh exports, this was majorly due to use of sub-standard products without traceability, this rendered or produce less competitive for the European markets. With such past challenges such innovation needs to be widely subscribed to by all players” he adds
Speaking on virtually behalf of CABI international, an international non for profit organization that took lead to developing the portal, CABI Plantwise program Executive Dr Washington Otieno applaud the Uganda government through its Agriculture Ministry for being the third African country in Africa to launch the portal. He said the portal was a tool that responded to the needs of the content.
“ We have learnt lessons in Africa that what extension recommend to farmers as good agriculture practices is many times not farmers can access or afford, the information is always scanty, so this platform shall help all industry players to guide farmers but also inform the market on what is available and its attributes” said otieno
He adds that the portal as a resource will reduce high agro risks on production saying the portal avails wide information to enable good decision making.
Dr Moris Akiri the CABI Africa regional Director said globally, an estimated 40 percent of crops are lost to pests and diseases. The widespread use of chemical pesticides to fight crop pests alone is not sustainable either economically or environmentally in the long run especially when one factors impacts exacerbated by climate change.
CABI bioprotection portal brings together in one place the various safer and more environmentally friendly biocontrol and bio-pesticide products that are authorized by national and international regulators of specific search. Insights will be sourced direct from national government’s lists of registered pesticides and partner biocontrol partners.” Said Akiri
Paul Mwambu, the Commissioner in charge crop protection at the Ministry of agriculture welcomed the portal saying this was a key tool for the crop sector, urging private sector to utilize and embrace the portal. He said all players will have access to the portal and its sustainability is anchored on private sector industry than government.
“ this is an important portal , the private sector should own this portal and ensure its sustainability, the seed traders, the agro input dealers , croplife and farmers federation shall work together with the ministry to popularize this portal. “ Mwambu Emphasizes.
Esther Nekambi, executive Director Uganda Flower Exporters Association, representing private sector, appreciated the new portal saying it had saved them from random search of good bio-pesticides on the market, saying the ministry ought to revive the Agro input taskforce which should be the driver of the portal. She further urged private sector to own the portal and pay fees for its sustainability.
Uganda is the third country on the African continent to Launch the BioProtection Portal after Kenya and Ghana, the portal is expected to be unveiled in Morocco, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada , Chille, Colombia, France , Jordan spain and Peru.
The online innovative bioprotection resource has been made available by CABI in collaboration with its network of partner biocontrol manufacturers (Biobest, e-nema, Idai Nature Koppert Biological Systems, Oro Agri and Syngenta) and donors (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, African Development Bank, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development) who provide invaluable support in the form of technical inputs, strategic guidance and funding.
More information about the CABI BioProtection Portal at https://bioprotectionportal.com/