By Prossy Nandudu
Terracing, digging water channels in banana plantations and digging up underground water reservoirs are some of the traditional farming practices that experts want farmers to practice, to curb effects of climate change to improve food security.
Through terracing, the soil is firmly held, it is not easily washed away while the trenches dug in plantations like banana fields trap runoff water during the rainy season, which also comes along with nutrients like organic fertilisers.
Charles Oluchina, the regional Coordinator at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said such practices should be complemented with reduction in the cutting down of trees and reduced use of agro chemicals which include pesticides, fertiliser, insecticides, weed killers among others.
Such practices are nature-based conservation practices that researchers in agriculture and climate change space meeting at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala want farmers to embrace.
The two-day dialogue that kicked off on Tuesday will discuss how to mainstream sustainable agriculture in Eastern and Southern Africa through the regional dialogues.
The meeting was organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) with financial support from IKEA foundation.
Oluchina added that agriculture should focuse on maximising production using fertiliser, pesticides, mechanisation, improved seeds and breeds, and irrigation. And that adoption of these technologies has been supported by public subsidies, which exceeded $780 billion in 2019.
“The paradigm shift has turned agriculture into an industrial activity with standardised processes, ignoring the dependence of agriculture on soil and ecosystems, and as a result has depleted soil fertility, degraded soil, and ground biodiversity, undermining resilience and the long-term viability of farming systems,” Oluchina explained.
Defending Sustainable Agriculture, Dr Enock Warinda, the executive director of ASARECA explained by practicing sustainable agriculture, challenges affecting the sector currently will be addressed.
These include unpredictable weather, soil degradation, environment pollution and biodiversity loss will be addressed.
For Uganda to conserve its environment, the Minister of State for Agriculture Fred Kyakulaga Bwino said that through the National Organic Policy, which he said has created avenues that will promote agriculture practices that protect the environment in general, advocates for use of organic agro chemicals and creates room for investments in sustainable agriculture practices among other interventions.
LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Minister of State for Agriculture Fred Kyakulaga Bwino (C)officiating at the ASARECA meeting on Tuesday. (Courtesy Photos)