Kampala, (UG): The government of Uganda has urged farmers and consumers to embrace the application of organic farming practices if they are to improve food safety and gain access to International markets.
Mr Abubakar Muhammad Moki, the Commissioner Policy Development and Capacity Building in the office of the president revealed this during the official launch of the ongoing National Organic Agriculture Week organized by the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU) on Wednesday, November 29, at Hotel Africana in Kampala.
Organic farming, also known as ecological farming or biological farming, is an agricultural system that uses fertilizers of organic origin such as compost manure, green manure, and bone meal and places emphasis on techniques such as crop rotation and companion planting.
According to Mr Moki, however much farmers are encouraged to adapt to organic farming practices, there is a need to raise awareness for both the farmers and the consumers on the dangers of some of these inorganic products and the benefits of organic products so as to transform the lives of people.
“People need to accept doing analysis, and awareness creation. I request you the press to also pass that message so that the public becomes aware of the organic farming practices,” he added.
Asked how the government will handle stakeholders dealing in inorganic and imported farming products, Mr Moki advised that there should be alternatives to look at as much as the country wants to promote organic farming practices.
“We also need to know the pros and cons of inorganic products and we see how to be better while promoting organic products. We should promote the organic products while minding the alternatives that exist,” he stated, adding that the newly approved organic agriculture policy tasks extension workers to identify and register farmers interested in organic agriculture for training, certification and assistance.
Mr Chariton Namuwoza, the Chief Executive Officer of NOGAMU in his remarks said the ongoing conference gives farmers and consumers an opportunity to celebrate the development of the organic agriculture sector in the country at a time of dramatic growth of the organic food sector.
“The organic products support the key national priority of food and nutrition security, and to enhance income for farmers and increase environmental protection through sustainable use of natural resources,” Mr Namuwoza stated.
He (Namuwoza) added that there’s a need for actors in the coffee value chain to adopt the use of organic inputs for increased production and markets. “We have a challenge of low productivity and output in organic farming. This is because our organic farmers are smallholder farmers who are less privileged worldwide,” he said.
Mr Godfrey Kalemera an agriculturalist dealing in organic products said organic fertilisers help to bring back the soil into its natural form without killing the organisms in the soil.
“It helps the plant to be more climate resilient so that it can withstand both dry and wet seasons, kills pests and diseases, and promotes food enhancement,” he said.
“Land is scarce so the little land we have must be preserved for the future. Organic pesticides help us preserve nature so that we protect the soil for the future. Don’t only look at producing produce for today and forget that future generations will need to use the same soil,” he added.
NOGAMU is an umbrella organization which unites producers, processors, exporters, NGOs and other institutions and organizations that are involved in the promotion and development of the organic sector in Uganda. Established in 2001, it is now one of the highly esteemed Business Support Organizations (BSOs) providing a range of services to the sector.
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