Food experts in Uganda say they want farmers’ opinions before introducing innovations


As climate change continues to hit farmers due to erratic weather conditions, researchers believe there is a need not only to improve agricultural innovation, but also to seek the opinions of farmers before introducing new ones. agricultural methods.

Hadijah Naigaga has been a banana farmer for over 10 years. As Uganda experiences erratic rainfall in parts of the country and prolonged dry seasons, Naigaga says her garden has not been spared.

She says there were huge banana plantations but they collapsed. First, we had a prolonged drought and the plantation dried up, she says. Then the rain was so heavy and the trees fell. I had calculated that I would make a profit between $ 3 and $ 6. But you realize that where you calculated $ 6, you got nothing. The trees are gone, she says.

Antonio Querido, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Uganda, says that to improve production, nutrition, the environment and life, it is necessary to transform agrifood systems. This would ensure that everyone has access to enough affordable, safe and nutritious foods to lead active and healthy lives. According to the FAO, 690 million people suffer from hunger in the world and this number has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Querido said agrifood systems are also contributing to climate change and that this calls for better long-term ways of producing safe and nutritious food.

“We need to invest more in research and development, to make agriculture more technologically advanced. We need innovation in digital agriculture to improve female literacy rates. Because it can only go a long way in reducing hunger, ”Querido said.

Ambrose Agona, the director general of the National Agriculture and Research Organization, said that if Uganda is seen as a food basket for the East African region, the question now arises. on the quality of the food.

He says that to make sure farmers produce quality food, researchers need to talk to farmers, who often apply indigenous methods to raise crops.

“So, for example, you talk about adaptation maybe to climate change. They have, for example, some crops, sorghum, finger millet, peanuts, pigeon peas. They were actually drought tolerant. But now the farmers will say, if this newly improved variety is truly tolerant of climate change, how does it compare to ours, ”said Agona.

According to the FAO, 40 to 50 billion dollars must be invested in the world to eradicate hunger by 2030.

In Uganda, efforts are focused on training farmers and improving methods of generating information leading to early warning systems to help them plan and anticipate the impacts of climate change.

This would be in addition to supporting post-harvest management and collective marketing to promote economic success and reduce poverty among farmers.

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