4 December 2012

Uganda: Land Conflicts Affecting Agricultural Productivity

Continuous land conflicts and land grabbing are increasing food insecurity and low agricultural output, an MP has said.

"The Government needs to come out and map land for farming," said Bungangaizi MP Dr. Atwooki Kasirivu.

Kasirivu, who is also the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, urged farmers to demand the mapping of land.

"The issue of decentralisation is intended to wipe out extension farmers who are key in creating awareness to increase food productivity," Kasirivu noted at the launch of research on indigenous foods conducted by the Participatory Ecological Land use Management (PELUM) at Lugogo recently.

"The research showed that 60% of the population requires knowledge on farming and not advice," he said.

"We have told the agriculture ministry to restore extension workers, but they have refused. A lot of money has been spent on NAADS with no major benefits to farmers. Farmers want knowledge and not money."

Kakuto MP Mathias Kasamba, who is also the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on food security, said farmers must stop looking at agriculture as a side job.

"Efforts must be put in place to ensure that farmers increase their productivity," Kasamba said.

PELUM country director Stella Lutalo said the push for the production of exotic crops at the expense of indigenous foods needs to be re-examined, adding that indigenous foods also have the potential to get smallholder farmers out of poverty.

She said research showed that some indigenous crops such as cashew nuts, which have local and foreign demand, are resistant to climate change.

The head of food nutrition in the agriculture ministry, Alex Kambona, said indigenous foods must be used to generate money for households and not only for consumption.

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