Rugunda to Launch Agricultural Extension Policy

3501 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Over the years the handling of agricultural extension services shifted from a unit under the ministry of agriculture to National Agricultural Advisory Services NAADS and now to a directorate of extension services.

Although Uganda's backbone is agriculture, the country's first comprehensive agricultural extension policy is to be launched tomorrow Tuesday.
All this while the country has been carrying agricultural extension services but without a clearly focused policy, relying on politically motivated extension activities.
Over the years the handling of agricultural extension services shifted from a unit under the Ministry of Agriculture to National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and now to a directorate of extension services.
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda is set to launch the National Agricultural Extension Policy and Strategy tomorrow in Kampala. The policy and strategy will run from 2016/17 to 2020/21.
The Director of the Directorate of Extension Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Beatrice Byarugaba, says this is the first time Uganda is coming up with a comprehensive agricultural extension policy and strategy.
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Addressing the media in Kampala, Byarugaba says implementation of the new agricultural extension policy and strategy will require at least 800 billion Shillings over the next five years.
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To carry out the extension services down to sub-county level, Byarugaba says government will require at least 4,000 qualified extension workers. She says already 2,000 have been recruited with the remaining 2,000 expected to be recruited by the end of this financial year.
Each sub-county is to have at least two extension workers. In places where there are fishing activities fisheries officers will be recruited.
According to Byarugaba, degree holders in all strands of agriculture will be deployed at district level, with others in the sub-counties.
In order to make the extension workers effective, Byarugaba says specially tailored skilling sessions will be organised for them.
Byarugaba says the new policy also opens extension service provision to non-governmental organisations and the private sector, adding that they will be fully regulated to align with the principles of the policy.
Pius Wakabi, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, says the new extension policy will help streamline the entire agricultural value chain.
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Wakabi says NAADS was supposed to provide extension services but instead focused more on distribution of inputs. He says as a result provision of extension services are now firmly under the directorate of extension services.
On fears that the new policy will suffer lack of implementation, Byarugaba says she is optimistic the policy will work if implemented.
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Byarugaba says NAADS has empowered farmers to demand for services, a streak they will bring when seeking extension services.


About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.

In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."