Unlocking the Potential of Kasese Smallholder Farmers’ Urban Food Systems Resilience for Food Security – AgriFoSe2030

AgriFoSe2030 Programme is a global initiative on agriculture and food security funded by the Swedish government. The programme has three (3) main thematic areas of consideration in the field of agriculture and food security: (1) Training and capacity building, (2) High quality synthesis and analysis and (3) Innovative platforms and Knowledge networks. The challenges aligning with the thematic areas AgriFoSe2030 addresses include: (1) Improving access to safe and nutritious food, (2) Agricultural productivity and ecosystem functions, (3) Science-based innovation and extension and (4) smallholder agriculture within transforming food systems. In response, AgriFoSe2030 under challenge 4 is implementing four projects in different countries: (1) Transformation of pastoral livelihoods in Kenya, addressing challenge 1 and 4, (2) Smallholder and the e-commerce of fruits in Vietnam, (3) Food systems resilience in Uganda and (4) Food Systems governance in Kenya.

AgriFoSe2030 Kasese Stakeholders’ Workshop

Makerere University, through the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, in collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Lund University is implementing a project on Unlocking the Potential of Smallholder Farmers Urban Food Systems Resilience in Uganda Agriculture for Food Security (AgriFoSe2030). The project is being implemented in two areas: Kasese municipality and Mbale city. The objectives of the project include: (1) Assessing the key vulnerabilities to urban food systems, (2) Facilitating a process of coming to agreement on the key priority areas and/or policies or actions and (3) Supporting decision makers to develop evidence-based policies and activities. Makerere University is the lead institution on the project, represented by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences under the Leadership of Professor Frank Mugagga, Head Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climate Sciences. AgriFoSe2030 project funds One (1) PhD student and two (2) masters students in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences.

Kasese Municipality Stakeholders’ Engagement held at Rwenzori International Hotel

The project led by Prof. Mugagga organized a two-days’ workshop as a follow-up on the mini survey conducted between 3rd and 9th October 2021, to ensure that smallholder farmers and decision makers within Kasese Municipality have a changed attitude towards smallholder farming and that decision makers recognize smallholder farmers as key players in the urban food risk reduction. The workshop was also intended to ensure that decision makers explicitly initiate processes and establish mechanisms through which smallholder farmers are able to fully participate as key stakeholders. 

The workshop was held from 13th to 14th December 2021, at Rwenzori International Hotel in Kasese Municipality. The workshop was aimed at: (1) Sharing findings from the stakeholder engagements and mini survey conducted between 3rd and 9th October 2021, (2) Providing space for informed policy dialoging among stakeholders, (3) Sharing and exchanging knowledge and best practices, (4) conducting a risk and capacity needs assessment and (5) Co-creating of knowledge and (6) Networking.

Prof. Frank Mugagga engaging stakeholders during the Smallholder Farmers workshop in Kasese Municipality

ISSUES ARISING FROM THE WORKSHOP

As part of the pre-workshop events, AgriFoSe2030 team paid a courtesy call on Kasese Municipal Mayor, who, represented by the Deputy Mayor and Town Clerk, acknowledged the support by AgriFoSe2030 in changing the lives of small holder farmers. They also appreciated the government for investing a lot of money from donor funds in improving rice production in the municipality.

Prof. Frank Mugagga (Center), Head Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climate Sciences and Dr. Mukwaya (Left) meeting with the Town Clerk, Kasese Municipality
The Deputy Mayor, Mr. Mupango Robson (second right), Prof. Frank Mugagga (right) and Dr. Mukwaya during the Courtesy call by AgriFoSe2030 team

Prof. Mugagga highlighted the contribution of AgriFoSe2030 to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In his remarks, Prof. Mugagga acknowledged the support by the Swedish government in funding the activities of the project. In regard to how AgriFoSe2030 contributes to the global SDGs, Prof. Mugagga aligned the objectives of the project with a number of United Nations’ SDGs. He noted that AgriFoSe2030 contributes directly to two (2) SDGs including: SDG 2 – End hunger, achieve food security, improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, SDG12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production partners. Prof. Mugagga also noted that AgriFoSe2030 objectives align well with two (2) NDP 2015 goals: Goal 1 – Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and Goal 2 – Developing a global partnership for development. Prof. Mugagga also emphasized the need for a network where different stakeholders can speak and appreciate the role of each other. According to Prof. Mugagga, many smallholder farmers have not been given a chance to participate in decision making therefore the need to uplift their voices. Also in his remarks, Prof. Mugagga noted the role of AgroFoSe2030 in informing policy, transforming policy into research, communication and engagements.

Prof. Frank Mugagga, PI AgriFoSe2030

Prof.  Mugagga emphasized the need for a network where different stakeholders can engage on their roles. According to Prof. Mugagga, many smallholder farmers have not been given a chance to participate in decision making therefore the need to uplift their voices. Prof. Mugagga further briefed participants on the role of AgroFoSe2030 in informing policy, transforming policy into research, communication and engagements.

Ms. Ritah Nakanjako, an MSc student on AgriFoSe2030 project, presented the Main Food System Actors and their Relationships: District government, City/Municipal Government, Farmer, Processor, Industrial, Academia and research, Non-Government Organizations, Middlemen, Community based organization and the media. In regard to communication, Ms. Ritah emphasized the need for frequent communication among the key stakeholders and noted the influence of both direct and indirect communication on smallholder farmers.

Ms. Rita Nakanjako, an MSc student giving her Presentation and discussion on stakeholder relations during the CNA workshop
Ms. Patricia Kiggundu student

In her presentation on Seeing Kasese Municipality’s Food System Through the Lens of Street Photography, Ms. Patricia Kiggundu Nagawa, a Master of Geographical Sciences student, noted the need for food transformation in order to unlock the potential of smallholder farmers. Ms. Nagawa emphasized the need for proper handling of food – “it all starts with the farmer, cook for a quality meal”.

Dr. Paul Mukwaya, Co-PI AgriFoSe2030

In his remarks regarding the Food Shed for Kasese Municipality, Dr. Paul Mukwaya, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences and Project Co_PI, noted that over 75% of Kasese rice is produced by Kasese Municipality with only 25% being produced by Kasese District. Also according to Dr. Mukwaya, Kasese Municipality produced the highest percentage of vegetables estimated at 100%.

Mr. Kasaija Peter, a PhD student on AgriFoSe2030 project presented on Food Systems Risks and Vulnerabilities in Kasese Municipality. Mr. Kasaija emphasized the need for a risk analysis for Kasese Municipalty’s food system to: increase awareness and knowledge; trigger policy making; support local planning systems; develop and implement targeted precise action intervention strategies to solve current and future challenges. In regard to the vulnerabilities, Mr. Kasaija presented: pollution, climate change, declining soil fertility, invasive transboundary pests and diseases, counterfeit and unsafe agro-inputs, competition, value chain disruptions and exploitation of food producers and consumers as key among others that needed urgent intervention.

Mr. Kasaija Peter giving his presentation and discussion of KM’s food system vulnerability and risk profile

The stakeholders included smallholder farmer representatives, Municipal leaders (both political and technical), Media representatives as well as traders involved in the Kasese foodshed. Below are some of issues presented during the needs assessment;

In response to the existing resources available with smallholder farming communities to support risk management, participants presented existing policies including: agricultural extension policy, national irrigation policy and the district ordinance on vanilla, maize and coffee. They desired a decentralized system of extension workers to disseminate the developed policies. Also participants presented their capacity development needs including: refresher trainings for extension workers on extension policy, a reduction of knowledge and human resource gap in crop management. Smallholder farmers emphasized the need for urgent intervention by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Local Government and Farmer Organizations in: training of farmers on general agronomy, decentralization and recruitment of extension workers. In regard to the resources needed in addressing their issues, smallholder farmers noted: human resources, extension grants, transport, land and water for irrigation. Also Kasese smallholder farmers desired a situation where there are more diversified staff and successful farmers’ groups, achieved through capacity needs including: record keeping by farmers, data on farmers and inputs, zoning of priority crops and crop water management.

A Group discussion by the Technical and Planning Committee during AgriFoSe2030 workshop

In regard to integrating food systems into municipal development programmes and policies, the stakeholders presented the existing situation including: vast land, water resources, climate, labour, fertile soils, infrastructure, political climate and technology. Kasese smallholder farmers desired a situation where: land is degazetted for farming, water for irrigation is availed, climate modification through afforestation, cheap family labour, intensive and extensive farming, modernization of infrastructures, favorable climate and scientific farming communication. Smallholder farmers’ capacity development needs presented included: recruitment of extension workers, farmer training workshops; formation of demonstration farms and improved farm input tools.

A Group discussion by the political leaders during the Kasese Municipality AgriFoSe2030 workshop

In response to the challenges, stakeholders presented the need for: extension workers, agricultural workers and veterinary officers, media practitioners, religious leaders, political leaders, NGOs and CBOs, security personnel and marketers to intervene into their issues. The key areas of intervention include: engagement with farmers, intensive communication, formation of irrigation schemes for drink sources for livestock, use of veterinary workers and pest control, stable environment, control of wildlife animals, stable market, buffer stock, sensitization seminars and radio talk shows. Stakeholders emphasized the need for Institutions and government to ensure that food systems are supported through provision of smallholder farmers with enough extension services, creation of more simple irrigation schemes, development of a by-law on rain water harvest, customizing and implementing existing legal frameworks.

A Group discussion by smallholder farmers during AgriFoSe2030 workshop in Kasese Municipality

The two-days’ workshop was concluded with a get-together dinner for both AgriFoSe2030 Makerere University staff and the technical team from the Kasese Municipality.

Get-together Dinner for AgriFoSe2030 in Kasese
AgriFoSe2030 Dinner

Compiled by Mariam Kasemiire, Web Administrator, CAES



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