Netherlands Ministry Interacts with CEA Stakeholders in Uganda
¨You should continue to share with one another and use your voice to demand for services from your government.¨ said Ida Rademaker, Food Security Policy Officer from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to members of the ¨Atapar Agule Womenś Group against Poverty in eastern Uganda. The group is one of twenty farmer groups supported to advocate for improved agricultural services and inputs by the Church of Uganda Teso Dioceses Planning and Development Office (COU TEDDO), a member of the Civic Engagement Alliance in Uganda.
The two-day mission to eastern and northern Uganda brought Ida into contact with smallholder farmers whose ability to provide for their households had been improved by training in advocacy and enhanced agro practices by the Civic Engagement Alliance.
Stella Ajubo, a group member stated, ¨Our soils have many pests and diseases. We learnt to make organic pesticides using neem tree, onions, red pepper and ash. Previously we used inorganic ones which you could spray and just the smell was not healthy. We also learned to add organic manure on our soils, which makes the yields increase. We sell the extra yields after our family has got food in the market, or even to some people who come to the garden.¨
Another member, Alice Opada, trained as a Community Based Facilitator of farmer engagement in improved agro practices and civic engagement said, ¨We had discussions with parish, sub county and district leaders to regulate agro input dealers who would always sell fake seeds. The sub county has been working on a byelaw since 2019 to regulate it, and it is now at the district, for passing.¨
In northern Uganda, Ida met with government leaders whose ability to understand and meet the actual needs of smallholder farmers had been enhanced through increased dialogue with communities, organized by the Civic Engagement Alliance partners.
Richard Omara, the Lira District Production Committee Chairperson stated, ¨With the help of Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD), in 2019 we had 2000 kilos of fake seeds reported by farmers! We were also able to disseminate our district ordinance on prohibition of malpractices to communities, and through this we have worked well with farmers to identify, arrest and prosecute fake seed dealers in courts of law.¨
The Civic Engagement Alliance is a joint collaboration between Dutch and southern Civil Society Organizations that advocates for inclusive development. In Uganda, the program is implemented by COU TEDDO, FAPAD, Share an Opportunity, Advance Afrika, Pentecostal Assemblies of God and Aridland Development Program, with a major focus on Maize Millet and Cassava value chains in Karamoja, Lango and Teso sub regions of Uganda. Partner lobby and advocacy interventions aim to: strengthen CSO engagement in thematic policy dialogue, promote community rights to adequate and nutritious foods, and increase smallholder farmers´ access to inclusive markets, skills, inputs and agricultural extension services.