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Digital Platform Aimed At Ensuring Sufficient, Nutritious Food Launched In Kabale

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Job Namanya

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has launched an innovative digital information and surveillance system in Kabale district aimed at ensuring sufficient, nutritious, and productive food.

The initiative also seeks to support sustainable agro-food system transformations. The event took place at the district headquarters in Makanga, Central Division of Kabale Municipality.

Jean Marie Byakweli, a policy officer at FAO, stated that the Digital Database Registry System in Uganda was first introduced in Kabale district and also operates in Nakasongora and Kiryandongo.

The project began about 12 months ago. “With this system, we hope to enable a better system of data collection, analysis, and utilization in forecasting, planning, and decision-making in the food systems. This will enable improved food security, nutrition, better health, and better environmental management in agriculture,” said Byakweli.

As part of the project, sub-county agriculture extension workers will receive computers, tablets, and smartphones to compile data while interacting with farmers. This data will be accessed on a digital platform by agriculture stakeholders to gain insights into the experiences of farmers each season.

Alex Bambona, assistant commissioner for food and nutrition security at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries, noted that the new digital platform will help Kabale, Kiryandongo, and Nakasongola districts gather evidence of local challenges, simplify decision-making, leverage resources, and drive positive change.

Beda Mwebesa, the district production and marketing officer, noted that this project would improve nutrition for better health, the environment, and the livelihoods of people in the district.

Agricultural extension workers supported the project, noting its role in improving data collection for nutrition and food value chains. They previously used paperwork, which was more tiresome.

“We welcome this project because it is going to help us collect data majorly to improve nutrition and food value chains. Before this project, we were collecting data using paperwork and it was tiresome but now that we have phones and tablets, digital life is better and we are happily executing this mandate,” said Glorious Katushabe, an extension worker for Kitumba sub-county.

Deus Baguma, the principal agricultural officer for Kabale, said poor network connectivity is a major challenge that could limit their effectiveness in using it.

Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Kabale district chairperson, emphasized that they will do whatever it takes to ensure that the project achieves its intended objectives.

About the project

FAO aims to improve food and nutrition security, income, and livelihoods of subsistence farmers and smallholders by developing inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems in Nakasongola, Kiryandongo, and Kabale districts.

This project addresses the inherent coupled dynamics, feedback loops, and digital impacts characterizing the interaction of agrifood systems.

The overall objective is to enhance food and nutrition security, income, and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by developing inclusive, resilient, and sustainable farming systems.

Through the project, FAO supports the design and establishment of a digital platform in those districts. This digital platform will support information and surveillance observatory systems of agrifood system actors, processes, and products, aiding in traceability, quality assurance, trade competitiveness, and improved nutrition.

Digital tools are being deployed across various elements of agrifood systems, including input chains, production, post-harvest handling, storage, marketing and distribution, processing, retailing, and consumption. These tools will be collated with food security, nutrition, and health survey outcomes.

The system will generate real-time surveillance to support crucial tasks such as distributing quality-sourced inputs to farmers and managing inventories within the agrifood system.

LEAD PHOTO CATION: Officials from FAO launching the Digital survey system in Kabale. Photo by Job Namanya

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