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Good Agricultural Extension Vital In Preserving Soil Fertility – Kabango

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Agricultural extension is vital for the implementation of sustainable land management (SLM) practices. In fact, such extension services had been in existence since colonial times when coercive approaches were used, unlike today when extension approaches are private, public sector-orietnted and, agribusiness-led as Freddie Kabango from the agriculture ministry says.

Kabango explains that SLM entails activities ensure that land resources, including soils and water, are utilised for production of goods and services to meet human needs while ensuring the long-term productive potential of those resources and maintenance of their environmental functions. 

Kabango says about 46% and 10% of Uganda’s total area is degraded and highly degraded, respectively.

“The impact of land degradation includes floods, crop failure and even loss of lives,” he says.

The experts agreed that this degradation arose from reduction in land cover due to poor land management through activities such as deforestation, continuous cultivation, bush burning, decrease in fallow periods and brick making.

Kabango discloses that most degraded areas in Uganda are in the cattle corridor, Lake Victoria crescent, highlands and, eastern and northern Uganda. Unfortunately, Uganda’s frameworks to control and manage the scale of activities such as bush burning, especially in areas with oil seed production, have not been reformed or reviewed to fit current times since around1974 as Kabango reveals.

When implemented, SLM not only enhances land productivity for yield, but also improves household food and nutritional security and income and also reduces the risks of exposure to climate change.

According to experts, SLM techniques include mulching, soil bunds, contours, permanent planned basins and rip lines. SLM strategies can also be in form of technologies that involve technical and material support and stakeholder engagement. Numerous success stories have been reported among farmers countrywide from use of SLM techniques.

“However, there is low uptake of these innovations, farmer implementation resistance and several farmers rent land and cannot easily establish SLM technologies,” Kabango says.

He says the success of SLM requires government-led support through funding, innovations to strengthen research-extension-farmer-industry linkages, multi-sectoral participation, climate-smart agricultural technology use as well as individual and community farmer participation.

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