Experts in agricultural advisory services also known as agricultural extension providers met in Kampala this week to chat a new path for the industry.
The meeting, the first of its kind in over three decades, drew over 200 agricultural extensionists mostly from Uganda and a few others from Europe and the USA.
The 3-day event was organised by the Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (UFAAS) with support from USAID and its Africa wide-umbrella body – the African Forum Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).
Henry Nsereko, the UFAAS chairman described the event as a milestone event and a celebration in the revival of agricultural extension services in Uganda.
The celebratory atmosphere comes in the wake of the revamping of the extension department in the Ministry of Agriculture. Last year the government recruited hundreds of extension workers across the country.
The Government of Uganda abandoned the provision of agricultural extension services back in the 1990s when i adopted staff downsizing recommendations from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
But Buvuma county MP Robert Ndugwa and several other agricultural experts have blamed the absence of extension providers on the decline in sector’s productivity as well as the loss of billions of taxpayer money when inputs given to farmers go to waste.
During the 2017/18 financial year government allocated money for paying allowances of extension works across the country.
MP Ndugwa however noted that the recruited workers still cannot meet farmers due to lack of transport means.
Robert Ndugwa, the Buvuma country MP and vice chair of the Agriculture committee of Parliament said he will fight to ensure that the sector gets the funds they need to ensure extension workers get motorcycles or boats to enable the reach farmers.
Organizers recognized some outstanding individuals for the Long years of working for farmers.
Among those recognised was Dr. Slim Nandy the first and former Executive Director of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). Nandy currently works as the boss of AFAAS.
Others who were recognized was Prof. Margaret Mangeni Najjingo from Makerere University.