By Joshua Kato
The Government of Uganda will continue supporting the growth of the organic foods sector in Uganda.
“Organic Agriculture is one of the systems of Agriculture promoted in Uganda. It is market oriented but aims at fostering production and consumption of healthy, safe foods for improved living of human beings in a sustainable environment,” Major Fred Bwino Kyakulaga says. He was speaking during the Organic Agriculture Week, held at Imperial Royale Hotel last week. Organic farmers also had a mini exhibition on the same day.
Kyakulaga said the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), approved the National Organic Agriculture Policy (NOAP) which was formulated through a consultative process that involved many of you here.
“The Organic Agriculture Policy guides investments in the entire Organic Agriculture value chain for inclusive livelihoods, production and environmental sustainability,” Kyakulaga said.
He pointed out that he is glad to note that, this dialogue is one of the key activities in the Organic Agriculture Week, organized by the National Organic Agriculture Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), for the first time in this country.
“Globally, the demand for organic products is huge and is continuing to grow. The driving force is largely the consumers’ concerns about food safety, health and environment sustainability,” he said.
According to a report by FIBl and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM, 2021) global retail sales of organic food and drinks exceeded 100 Billion Euros in 2019 and have been growing at double-digit rate.
“A similar trend has been observed in Uganda. There are now many emerging farmers’ markets and super markets selling healthy organic food products. Indeed, when the world was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it was reported that organic products consumption grew at the highest rate ever. These trends provide a clear opportunity to position Uganda as a top global supplier of organic products to enable the country reap big, socially, economically and environmentally,” Kyakulaga said.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries recognises the Ugandan organic actors that have come up with many excellent innovations that make it much easier for farmers to increase organic Agriculture production and guarantee integrity to buyers of organic products.
“It is encouraging to learn that we now have local companies based here in Uganda, which are manufacturing certified organic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and probiotics, that conform to local and international organic standards,” Kyakulaga said.
He said that these inputs guarantee increased production as reported by some of the farmers who have used them. It is now possible more than ever before, to do organic farming on small, as well as large scale, with ease. He also applauded Makerere University, together with other partners like NOGAMU have also developed an excellent tool dubbed ‘Kebera’, which can be used to test whether a product is organic or not. This tool, together with the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) will ease the cost of certification and promote trust between producers and consumers of organic products in Uganda. My ministry will work closely with NOGAMU to promote and commercialize such innovations.
In his presentation, Alex Lwakuba, asked local investors to continue investing in production on organic fertilisers, saying this will improve and ease the process of producing organic crops. “Government should also extend incentives to all those producing organic fertilisers,” he said.
At the same function, several players in the organic sector were rewarded.
Photo moments from the function below;