Je m’appelle Peter Steele et je fais actuellement partie de l’équipe régionale de la FAO au service des industries agricoles d’Afrique du Nord et du Proche Orient. Cette équipe comprend une centaine de spécialistes techniques et de personnel de service. Le sujet du débat suggère que j’appartiens à une «niche» professionnelle : je suis en effet ingénieur agricole et je m’intéresse plus particulièrement à l’industrie agro-alimentaire.
With over 10,400,000 citizens connected to mobile phones in Uganda (according to International Communication Union) over 5,000,000 browsing internet daily and millions tuning into more than 228 fm radio stations broadcasting in local languages – Do we still need the kind of cooperatives that operated in 1970’s and 1980s to connect farmers and small businesses to markets? Calls for revival of Cooperatives are a hot and rehearsed issue, amongst, especially opposition politicians and operatives. Possibly bending a bit to pressure, government rebranded the Ministry to Trade Tourism and Industry to Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives! Alas- this Cooperative narrative needs to be re-imagined in current Uganda. We need to be talking about new ways of organizing and governing markets. If old cooperatives don’t change, what is left of them will soon disappear.
Uganda has only 1600 extension workers mandated to serve 4,000, 000 million farmer households in Uganda giving a ratio of 1: 2500 farmer households.
The rural nature of most farms remains a challenge to graduate and fresh extension workers from college as these fresh professionals often prefer enjoying the trappings of peri-urban life.
How do we crack this state of affairs? Do we leave solutions to policy makers and technocrats? Do we call for reinstatement and restoration of regional district farm demonstrations and stock farms?
A solution may perhaps lie in a stronger role of the private sector such as engaging in public –private partnerships and embracing technology. There is a pool of Extension Link farmers that were in late 1990’s trained by Uganda National Farmers Federation all over Uganda. Mobile phones technology can be used to complement extension efforts. Could such a model bring down the current expansive farmer-extension worker ratio and abridge the current information gap at the farm level?
Poultry feeding becomes more critical and expensive during prolonged winter, snow cover and cold weather in rural areas of north Afghanistan. In order to overcome the problem and reduce the cost of feeding in winter season when the chicken has no access for scavenging outside the coop a new well proved technique of hydroponic forage and pulses sprouting was introduced in five targeted districts of Balkh and Jauzjan provinces of North Region by the Backyard Poultry Development Project funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development(IFAD) through the Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Program (RMLSP) of Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock(MAIL) of Afghanistan. The technique was very well adopted nearly by 5000 women beneficiaries with very good results of 30% increase in egg production and raising healthy chickens/layers, and positive impact on food security and improved livelihood of rural farming families