The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Henk Jan Bakker, has said that inclusive agricultural transformation, which is an integral part of Uganda’s vision 2040, is urgently needed.

Bakker was speaking during a breakfast meeting to discuss Uganda’s National Agriculture Extension Policy held on 13th April 2017 in Kampala. The meeting was organized by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) and attended by Parliamentarians, Officials from operation Wealth Creation and members from Civil Society.

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Bakker emphasized the need for an inclusive agriculture sector that empowers youth and women with skills, avails timely agricultural information and new technologies, and ensures access to affordable agricultural finance and markets.

Okin PP Ojara, Member of Parliament, West Moyo County said that National Agriculture Extension Policy (NAEP) was long overdue and that agriculture issues are being handled haphazardly. Ojara also decried the status of agriculture colleges saying they are being underutilized and turned into universities.

Dr Guloba Madina a Research Fellow with Economic Policy Research Centre cited that Uganda needs over 17000 extension staff given the huge number of citizens surviving on agriculture.

She called for linking of agriculture extension to cross cutting issues such as education, food security, religion and culture, nutrition, market access, quality standards and sustainable land use, to avert scenarios such as the closure of Nakaseke tomato factory.

Beatrice Byarugaba, Director Agric Extension Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) said “extension function should be returned to MAAIF and called for Separation of agriculture extension from input provision.”

She noted that the major challenges facing Agriculture extension are regulation and coordination, incapacitated human resource, limited coverage and lack of inclusiveness.

Byarugaba told attendees that over 3000 extension workers were recruited by March 2017, and MAAIF targets raising 4000 by June, which will make 70% of the currently required 5200 staff.

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