Sasakawa Launches COVID 19 Extension Support in Uganda.
By Grace Musimami
Sasakawa Africa Association Uganda anon governmental Programme has launched COVID 19 interventions to support extension service providers across the country in an effort to reach Farmers and increase production during the COVID 19 Pandemic production season, according to Dr Roseline Nyamutale Sasakawa Country director, many farmers were not producing normally because they are not receiving both extension advisory services, and the much needed inputs, so Sasakawa Africa Association decided to support ensure extension happens.
“Sasakawa COVID study conducted to establish current and anticipated effect of COVID -19 on foodsystems and recommends concrete mitigation measures, the report also clearly indicated that many of the farmers countrywide have been affected by the pandemic, production has gone low even with good rainy seasons, this is why we have decided to Launch these COVID-19 interventions to support the extension systems for better reach to Farmers without underscoring the Healthy safety requirements’ Said Dr Nyamutale.
Dr Nyamutale , who was speaking during a launch of SAA Uganda COVID-19 Interventions at fairway hotel, Kampala, disclosed that the Programme was aimed at enabling extension service providers countrywide to reach grassroot farmers ahead of this season, the Programme has given different items which include bicycles for transport, protective gears to wear, temperature guns to be used by extension workers as they reach the farms and inputs which included cassava cuttings to be given to farmers.
Handing over the items to farmers, the East African Community assembly legislator Honorable Mathias Kasamba, thanked Sasakawa Africa association for its continued effort to revolutionalise agriculture , saying the organization had become a one stop center for exemplary extension models.
“ This is a great initiative, I am glad to see COVID 19 interventions in the agriculture sector being led by Sasakawa global 2000, we need to scale this to all other non-state actors organizations and further be a model for the East Africa community.” Said Kasamba
Addressing the media during the event, Dr Beatrice Byarugaba , the Director agriculture extension representing the Minister of Agriculture, thanked Sasakawa for the support to extension sector in Uganda over the years , disclosing that the ministry had enjoyed the working memorandum of understanding between the Ministry and Sasakawa.
“I thank Sasakawa for the support towards extension in Uganda over the years, this support given to farmers, shall go a long way to ensure extension delivers its expectations to the farmers but also enable production, we have been having a lot of complain of failure for extension to go to farms due to COVID fears, now that they can move with temperature guns, we need to support Sasakawa role out the Programme.” Said Byarugaba Beatrice.
The Director adds that the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries continued to enjoy great relationship with Sasakawa and further applauded the organization for its recent COVID 19 study on the effect of the pandemic on the extension and advisory delivery in Uganda. She said the ministry was already using the results of the study in its planning programmes.
Erias Matovu Mbide, an extension service provider from Zirobwe subcounty, Luwero district thanked Sasakawa for the support towards extension saying this was to ensure farmers received services and boosted production but most importantly extension workers remained alive.
“We have received great support, during COVID 19 strategic interventions, extension was left out, extension workers have been so exposed to the virus, this led to low visits to the farmers, and will probably affect entire production process, but with Sasakawa support this is going to support the entire process.” Said….
Recently Sasakawa global 2000 conducted a study on COVID impacts on extension service delivery, the reports highlights that many farmers had lost hope in extension, and further indicates the need to adopt e-models to scale extension.
The Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) was established in 1986, by Mr Ryoichi Sasakawa, founder and former chairman of the Nipon foundation, Dr Norman Boulag Nobel Price Laureate and former USA president Jimmy Carter., to seek a more sustainable solution to Africa food security problems.
Originally operated as Sasakawa Global 2000, SG2000 is widely used to describe SAA programmes. SAA and its SG2000 country programs work in close collaboration with national agricultural extension services in Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Uganda to support smallholder farmers along agricultural value chain in terms of food security enhancement and livelihood improvement.
The Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE), integrated into SAA on January 2018 – specializes in building the talents and skills of national extension staff in collaboration with agricultural departments of different universities in Africa.
Since 1986, SAA program has changed the lives of millions of smallholder farmers. The culture and spirit of SAA is perhaps best encapsulated by the last words of late Dr. Borlaug. Even on his deathbed, Dr. Borlaug remained vitally interested in what science can do to improve the lives of resource-poor farmers, and when one of his last visitors was describing to him a promising new technology, Dr. Borlaug’s only comment was “Take it to the farmer!” His admonition reflects the life he led, and defines clearly the enduring ethos of the organization he helped found.