Agriculture is a key sector in Uganda's economy and features prominently in the top five priority areas marked for public sector investment.
The Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) Project has been fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Development and Strategic Investment Plan (DSIP).
The project was designed to support the implementation of the full National programs of National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and the second Phase of National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). The project will support key activities along the research-extension-farmer-market value chain continuum through five components.
ATAAS activities were based on background studies, reviews and consultative meetings with various stakeholders.
ATAAS' mandate is to promote productivity and agricultural production through "close collaboration between research by NARO and extension service delivery by NAADS under the Development and Strategic Investment Plan (DSIP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the National Development Plan (NDP). The effectiveness of ATAAS project had begun on July 2011to 2012.
At its inception in 2001, NAADS was envisioned as a 25-year program to be implemented in several phases. During the first phase (2001-07), the program was extended to all districts and su b-counties throughout the country.
The strategic framework for NAADS Phase I was: "A decentralised, farmer-owned, and public/private sector serviced extension system contributing to the realisation of agricultural sector objectives."
The NAADS mission was: "Increased farmer access to relevant information, knowledge, and technology through effective, efficient, sustainable, and decentralised extension services coupled with increasing private sector involvement in line with the Government's policy." The NAADS mission under ATAAS remains the same.
To achieve that, NAADS Phase II in collaboration with NARO is taking into account agricultural technology development which will help farmers increase and improve their yields. Activities financed under ATAAS will support the identification and generation of technologies, practices, and strategies that meet stakeholders' demands and respond to market opportunities. NAADS and NARO under ATAAS will strengthen the available agricultural research system, technological promotion and farmer access to information and knowledge will become key in Phase II.
For the agricultural sector to develop partnerships are a crucial factor; therefore the ATAAS project will enhance and strengthen partnerships between agricultural research, advisory services and other stakeholders. The objectives, framework, and principles for effective partnerships in the agricultural sector will be further developed and reinforced under ATAAS.
Impact studies confirm that investments in agricultural research result in new knowledge, enhance production and productivity, and have a high impact on increasing rural household incomes thereby reducing poverty.