Agriculture has been the backbone of Uganda’s economy.

Agriculture has been the backbone of Uganda’s economy. More than 85% of the total population depends on agriculture as the main source of livelihood. Despite the enormous contribution from the agricultural sector to Uganda’s GDP, small scale farmers still face climate change adaptation issues, less involvement of youth and women entrepreneur in agricultural sector. It is therefore the mandate of Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) to promote favorable policies for farmer empowerment and strengthen farmer organizations by promoting farmer-enabling environment. One of the many UNFFE’s Lobby and Advocacy’s aims is to help smallholder farmers in increasing production to meet demand and promote market access within multilateral trading systems.

In order to improve the flight of small scale farmers, UNFFE with support from USAID-Uganda is working hard to support farmers on issues of Climate Change Adaptation, Women and Youth engagement in agriculture in the 10 districts of Jinja, Sironko, Kiboga, Rakai, Moyo, Isingiro, Kamwenge, Kasese, Oyam and Nwoya.

UNFFE intends to work hand in hand with government of Uganda, agricultural public/ private stakeholders, technical think tanks in order to ensure favorable policies for creating enabling environment for the agricultural sector.

The core purpose of this project is to enhance the capacity of UNFFE in effectively influencing the policy environment for sustainable agricultural development. This objective is consistent with the National Development Plan (NDP) and Development Strategy and INVESTMENT Plan (DSIP) ambition of raising rural household incomes and improving food security and nutrition through creation of an enabling environment. NDP emphasizes the significance of agricultural growth as the engine for employment creation and poverty reduction. The intervention further pursues innovative ideas and approaches to advance Uganda’s policy enabling environment with USAID-Uganda’s Feed the Future Strategy.

When presenting the National Agriculture Policy (September 2013), Honorable Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries Tress Bucyanayandi stated “As we look to the future, agriculture will continue to be essential to Uganda’s development and to achieve the ambitious goals of Vision 2040, whose strategic goal is A Transformed Uganda Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 Years. UNFFE is therefore fighting hard to make ends meet for farmers promoting food and nutrition security, improving household INCOMES through coordinated intervention among various stakeholders, development partners, agricultural advocacy coalitions, technical think tanks and other farm groups. This intervention and linkages will definitely boost sustainable agricultural productivity and value addition.

UNFFE’s one of the strategic areas of concern is empowering women and youth in agriculture to ensure sustainable agricultural productivity and value addition to provide employment opportunities and promote agribusinesses, INVESTMENTS and trade. However UNFFE realizes a gap between farmers, key policy formulators/implementers, agricultural extension and advisory services that would spawn linkages of harmonizing services like business development services, input supply, micro-finance; irrigation and agro-processing. The federation therefore has the mandate to increase consultations with farmers and key stakeholders for purposes of revolutionizing the agricultural sector as a matter of fact bridging this gap.

The project will also address capacity gaps in advocacy, climate change adaptation through relevant trainings for each of the groups mentioned above.

An enabling environment is a key to any program implementation and achievement of the desired goal. The Development Strategy and INVESTMENT Plan (DSIP) has “Creation of an Enabling Environment as one of its investment areas so as to achieve the goals in the Development Plan. Also NAP is essential in providing the necessary framework upon which strategies and programs for developing the sector are affirmed. The Seed Policy & Regulations are very important to ensure proper production and distribution of quality seeds to farmers. On the other hand there are a number of government policies, strategies and programs aimed at developing the sector but majority of farmers are not aware of them. Among the policies are the ones mentioned above.

It is UNFFE’s initiative therefore to fight for farmers rights, encourage them to be party to policy campaigns, educate them about favorable policies and strategies the agricultural sector has been deprived of. If practicability of this kind of advocacy is put in place, it is anticipated that farmers will double their current farm production & productivity.

Since its formulation, UNFFE has worked to voice the interests of farmers and deliver services in commodity value chain development, to advance Agricultural related policies that promote family farming, alleviate poverty through Policy advocacy and support farmers in adopting proven climate change adaptation approaches. UNFFE intends to engage government, both at national and district levels ensuring that NAP and other related agricultural policies continue addressing the factual challenges farmers face.

Consequently UNFFE will continue to mobilize the youth and farmers to sensitize them about government programs in order for them to actively and gainfully participate in policy briefs and or implementation and provide feedback to government on gaps and challenges identified.

Conclusively, UNFFE is looking at procedures/interventions that are inclusive and participatory in nature inspiring to engage all stakeholders towards making the end product a success which is empowering farmers for sustainable development that is desirable and responsive to the need of Uganda.