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FAO facilitates exchanges between Uganda’s parliamentarians and RUFORUM on food security and nutrition


©FAO/Believe Nyakudjara / FAO

17/04/2018 - 

On 17 April, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) facilitated a conversation between the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), with whom FAO signed a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2017, and Members of Parliament (MPs) of Uganda, to seek the possibility in developing joint research proposals reflecting needs and demands of MPs for opportunities such as the African Union research grants. The meeting was hosted by FAO Uganda and jointly organized by FAO Headquarters and FAO Regional Office for Africa (RAF).

 This discussion also aimed at increasing mutual understanding between academia and MPs, to identify how universities could contribute to the daily work of MPs, while building synergies between on-going initiatives and creating trust for potential future exchanges. Indeed, FAO and the Pan-African Parliament launched in October 2017 a regional technical cooperation program involving Uganda to strengthen MPs capacities for an enabling environment for food security and nutrition (FSN) (to advance strategies, policies and laws on the right-to-adequate-food, investments in FSN at the national and regional levels). In addition, FAO and the Eastern Africa Parliamentarians from nine countries also organized in November 2017 a dialogue on FSN and agreed to establish parliamentary platforms both at sub-regional and national level (link). Thus, FAO took the opportunity of the presence of senior scholars from the RUFORUM member universities attending a workshop in Uganda for African Union research grants on food security and nutrition, to facilitate this encounter so that MPs could express their strategic needs and challenges.

Both MPs and RUFORUM scholars agreed that the use of research outputs from local universities could contribute to the development of evidenced-based policy processes and legislation which are based on the specific needs of the country. MPs highlighted the following challenges on which they would like to receive support and scientific data from researchers, such as low agricultural productivity, post-harvest losses, current farming practices, access to markets for farm products, preservation of indigenous seeds, and responses for plant health challenges (i.e. cassava diseases).