One of the current challenges facing many African countries is how to increase agriculture production to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing population and for economic development as the sector is one of the major contributors to their Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Intensifying agriculture production through the use of modern farming methods and technologies is one of the ways to overcome this challenge. However, in addition to having the relevant technologies, a conducive policy environment is very important.
|From left: IITA's Piet Van Asten and H.E Alphons exchange signed contract of the USD 5 million policy action project|
This is through a project entitled: “Policy Action for Sustainable Intensification of Ugandan Cropping Systems (PASIC)”.
During the signing of the contract, the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Uganda, His Excellency Alphons Hennekes noted “The inevitable solution lies in the intensification of cropping systems by using fertilizers, improved seeds, good agronomic practices and attracting investors for buying farmers’ produce”,
Honorable Tress Bucyanayandi, the MAAIF Minster welcomed the initiative and noted it was well in line with the countries priorities and strategic development plans.
“Sustainable intensification of cropping systems, PASIC directly contributes to increased rural incomes and household food security, the two objectives of our Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP)” he said.
|Honourable Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and fisheries (MAAIF) welcomed the initiative.|
Victor Manyong, the IITA Director for Eastern African, noted the project was very important to tackle the bottlenecks to sustainable intensification of agriculture through research on policy and policy action.
|Victor Manyong, IITA's Director for Eastern Africa thanks the Dutch Government on behalf of the project team|
The project will carry out research in in two zones targeting two important cropping systems- south western Highlands for Irish potatoes and the Lake Kioga plains in Eastern Uganda for rice.
Piet Van Asten, IITA Country Representative and project leader said “PASIC will generate vital knowledge and evidence for decision makers to plan public investments and attract responsible private entities to the agriculture sector”.
|Piet Van Asten, IITA's Country in Uganda representative gives an over viewof the project during the ceremony|
The project starts in October 2013 and will run to September 2017. The findings and lessons learnt will support MAAIF staff to formulate credible policies and programs to intensify cropping systems. Other project partners are the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), the leading policy think-tank in Uganda, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).