The Resilient Urban Food Systems (RUFS_Uganda) Project team organized a two-day workshop on capacity building of smallholder farmers in Kasese Municipality. The event was held on Monday, 16th and 17th May 2022 at Uhuru Hotel in Kasese Municipality and was attended by representatives from: AgriFoSe2030 programme, the media, technical personnel, politicians, Operation Wealth Creation, farmers, agro-input dealers, among others. The workshop was aimed at: Sharing knowledge and experiences of different farming measures like local inputs, materials used in production; sensitizing and guiding of farmers on the need to form farmers’ groups and initiating a process of actualization of the stakeholders’ platform which brings together all the players.  The capacity building initiative comes after the previous engagements with smallholder farmers in Kasese Municipality during which a number of issues were brought forward including: River Nyamwamba floods, drought, pests, theft, minerals like copper, all affecting smallholder farmers’ crop yields. During the workshop, smallholder farmers were skilled on a range of issues including; group formation and dynamics, financial accessibility and record keeping.

Prof. Frank Mugagga giving his remarks during the RUFS Capacity Building Workshop held in Kasese Municipality

Speaking at the event, Prof. Frank Mugagga, the project leader and Head, Department of Geography, Geo-Informatics and Climatic Sciences noted that the engagements held with different stakeholders were aimed at identifying the challenges, prospects and a way forward in supporting and helping smallholder farmers in the up-stream, mid-stream and lower stream of River Nyamwamba. Prof. Mugagga thanked Prof. Magnus Jirstrom, the AgriFoSe2030 programme, challenge 4 Leader based at Lund University, Sweden for supporting the project and Dr. Heather Mackay, also from Lund University. Sweden, for travelling all the way to attend the workshop.

Participants during the Kasese RUFS Capacity Building Workshop

Stressing the importance of the workshop, The Assistant Town Clerk, Mr. Faisal Kamungaro appreciated Makerere University team for equipping the smallholder farmers with skills to harness production which aligns well with the National Development Plan III (NDPIII) on agricultural production. Mr. Kamungaro also highlighted the role played by RUFS project in linking the municipality to the first pillar of the Parish Development Model (PDM). Mr. Faisal Kamungaro, further commended the RUFS_Uganda project team for identifying the challenges faced by farmers in Mbale City and Kasese Municipality. “When you identify the loophole in the system, you first preach it and this is what you are doing. The knowledge you are sharing on group dynamics and record keeping should be the basis as to why we are here as smallholder farmers, RUFS has enhanced our capacity in record keeping, leadership and managerial skills.”

Mr. Faisal Kamungaro, Town Clerk Kasese Municipality giving his remarks during the Kasese RUFS Capacity Building Workshop

RUFS_Uganda project is guided by three (3) main objectives including: assessing key vulnerabilities to urban food systems; facilitating a process of coming to agreement on the key priority areas and/or policies or actions; and supporting decision makers to develop evidence-based policies and activities. In this regard, RUFS_Uganda project team initiated the formation of Kasese Urban Food Systems Platform (KUFSP) in order to bring together different players from different interest groups including politicians, farmers, technical committee, traders, and the media. The platform is geared towards sustainable agricultural production through enhanced productivity, inclusivity and knowledge sharing, mobilization, policy and advocacy, farmer trainings, among others. According to Prof. Mugagga, increasing the agricultural base can only be determined by smallholder farmers.

Ms. Patricia Nagawa, an MSc student at Makerere University inspecting tomatoes during a field visit of a tomato garden affected by agro-inputs during the RUFS capacity building workshop in Kases Municipality

In her remarks, Dr. Heather Mackay, applauded RUFS_Uganda project team for organizing the workshop. “It is strong evidence that the project is playing its role envisaged in translating existing research knowledge into wider usage reaching a hierarchy of stakeholders.” According to Dr. Heather, the workshop was relevant to AgriFoSe2030 programme whose role is to leverage existing knowledge to address urban food systems and nutrition security. AgriFoSe2030 is a wider programme nurturing RUFS_Uganda project and many other projects implemented in different countries. Dr. Heather also noted that inclusivity of a smallholder farmer is key and therefore it was a nice engagement “You have done a lot of good work and having the media on board makes it an excellent project management, handling, planning.”

Dr. Heather Mackay giving her remarks during the RUFS Capacity Building Workshop held in Kasese Municipality

In his closing remarks, His Worship Rabson Mupango the Deputy Lord Mayor, Kasese Municipality appreciated RUFS_Uganda project team for organizing the training. “The workshop has benefited us all in different capacities including leaders especially with qualities a leader should have like trust and accountability being the core,” he said.

His Worship Rabson Mupango, Deputy Lord Mayor, Kasese Municipality giving his remarks during the RUFS capacity building workshop in Kasese Municipality

Key milestones from the Workshop

  • The stakeholders were trained on record keeping, access to finance to scale-up production and invest in agriculture; mobilization, organization and formalization to improve their productivity and to enhance their participation in the decision making process.
  • Peer to peer Knowledge sharing was also showcased through presentations by two smallholder farmers’ representatives including Ms. Mary Kyomugisha from Mubuku Irrigation scheme 2, Kasese Municipality and Mr. Juma Wepukhulu, President Mbale Urban Food Systems Platform, who RUFS_Uganda project facilitated to attend the recent 2022 Harvest Money Expo held from 18th March 2022 to 20th March 2022 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala Uganda.
  • An interim committee was democratically elected to kick start activities of the Kasese Urban Food Systems platform.
  • Media relations and wider dissemination were also enhanced when the RUFS_Uganda Team was hosted on Rwenzori TV for a live/call in Talk Show.

Next actions

RUFS_Uganda will closely work with the platform members to ensure that farmer dialogues and knowledge sharing engagements are organized for the benefit of the relevant stakeholders.

Prof. Frank Mugagga (left) and Dr. Heather Mackay (right) during the field trainings held in Kasese Municipality organized by RUFS project

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