Baz Waiswa

Baz Waiswa

National Organic Week To On Promote Agroecological Farming Practices And Healthy Food

The fifth Annual National Organic Week is back. The 2023 event will focus on promoting agroecological farming techniques and healthy food in the country.

This year’s theme is Promoting of Agroecological Farming Techniques and Healthy Foods. It will kick off on Monday, September 25 2023 and end on September 29 2023.  

Hakim Baliraine, the National Chairperson of the Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF Uganda) said in a media statement that they will use the Week to share agroecology farming practices and experiences.

He said they also use the Week to raise awareness among the public on the consumption of agroecologically produced agricultural products.

Commitment to our planet's health

The Week will also highlight the contribution of organic farming in combating climate change which is becoming a big global challenge. 

“In the heart of every farmer, the National Organic Week leaves a lasting imprint. It's a time when we reflect on the true essence of our craft, nurturing the land, and tending to the roots of sustainability,” Baliraine said. 

“This Week reminds us that the choices we make today, in support of organic farming, will bear fruit for generations to come. It's not just a celebration; it's a commitment to our planet's health and the legacy we leave behind in conserving our environment,” he further explained.  

Baliraine said the Week aims to inform the wider public about the importance of agroecologiclly farming practices and consumption of organically produced foods. 

He said it will encourage the uptake of organic farming practices among small-scale farmers.

Food value chain 

The organizers of the event believe that adopting organic farming can play a big role in the country’s food value chain.

It is further believed that organic farming will save the country’s environment which has been highly degraded by commercial farming.

Commercial farming usually depends on inorganic farming inputs that are considered to be very dangerous to the country’s environment.  

Supporters of agroecological farming practices are now urging local farmers, especially smallholder farmers, to resort to organic farming inputs.

Organic inputs like locally produced fertilizers and pesticides boost organically produced agricultural products which are highly demanded both locally and internationally.

Environmentally friendly

Farming groups, especially the smallholder farmers, say organic farming is environmentally friendly and less costly compared to inorganic farming inputs that are expensive. 

To ensure that farmers embrace the production systems, many interventions have been initiated by farming associations such as ESAFF Uganda and other farmers groups especially those that unites smallscale farmers across the country. 

The forums have been organizing the annual National Organic Week since 2019. It’s on this background that ESAFF Uganda has organized the 5th National Organic Week 2023. 

Trade of organic agriculture growing 

Over the past ten years, global output and trade of organic agriculture have grown exponentially in the global market, particularly in Europe and North America. 

There has also been a shift in consumer preferences toward safe and hazard-free organic food. Rising environmental consciousness and the health risks associated with agrochemicals are a few of the main factors driving the growing interest in organic agriculture. 

Uganda's agricultural system is essentially organic by nature due to the relatively low use of foreign inputs like inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. 

Chemical fertilizers are among the least used globally despite the fact that their use is rigorously regulated for plant protection.

According to the players in the agricultural sector, this situation presents a tremendous potential for organic agriculture to develop and sustainably produce more food to increase food security and farmer revenue Farmers. 

Creating organic farming awareness 

The 5th National Organic Week also aims at increasing awareness of agroecological farming production systems and accelerates the uptake of these in the wider farming community.

It also aims to increase awareness of organic products and their benefits among consumers and to position indigenous seed varieties as the best adaptation strategy to address the impacts of climate change.

The Week provides a platform for dialogue between policymakers and small-scale farmers on how to sustainably use organic and biological farming methods and products directly to meet agricultural and environmental challenges.

The week-long event will be celebrated in Soroti, Gulu, Masaka, Lira, Amuru, Amuria, Adjumani, Kisoro, Kasese, Mbale, Kamuli, Jinja and Mityana.

The Week will include community dialogues, radio talk shows, engagement with Agroecology Clubs in schools and the 5th National Organic Dialogue as the climax event. 


160 Ugandans Graduate With Oil And Gas Welding Skills

A partnership between CNOOC Uganda Limited, Sunmaker Oil and Gas Training Institute and Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) has seen 160 Ugandans graduate in welding techniques for the oil andgas activities in Uganda.

CNOOC said the two months training equipped trainees with proper techniques, theory and practical based knowledge using SMAW (Shielded Metal ArcWelding). The training courses encompass skills required in the welding industry, with emphasis on tubular assemblies, CNOOC said.

The training program is part of the National Content enhancement activities for the Kingfisher Development Area (KFDA) Project to empower and enhance the knowledge of local technicians through training towards international certification.

The program comprised of the first set of 80 students trained in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) 1G, 2G, and 3G welding which follows the International Standards of American Welding Society (AWS) and American Petroleum Institute (API).

The second group of another 80 students received training in 4G, 5G and 6G SMAW which follows the same International Standards of AWS and API. The major goal of 3G and 6G welding courses is to prepare participants for oil and gas piping systems including pipeline and refinery constructions.

The welding involves assembling, maintaining, and installing structural units. These 160 Ugandan students originated from the Albertine region districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Nwoya, Masindi, Buliisa, Kibale, Kiryandongo, Kakumiro, Kagadi, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Sembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.

CSOs Ask NCBA Bank Not To Finance Hoima Sugar Over Bugoma Forest

 Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC) together with over 1,678 Bugoma forest host communities directly impacted by the Hoima Sugar Limited’s Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project have petitioned the Managing Director of NCBA Bank Mark Mayobo to stop providing financial support to Hoima Sugar Limited. 

The project, which includes a sugar cane plantation along with other infrastructure developments, has severely threatened the well-being and livelihoods of local communities, the CSOs say. 

The project has also resulted in the deforestation of natural, reserved forest, and has violated several Ugandan laws. Civil society groups have long fought against the project, including suing Hoima Sugar Limited (Hoima Sugar) for an inadequate environmental and social impact assessment.

On July 14, 2021, NCBA Bank Uganda posted on Twitter about providing asset financing to Hoima Sugar. In supplying asset financing via trucks, NCBA Bank is enabling Hoima Sugar to destroy the treasured Bugoma forest and harm the well-being of local communities. 

The Bank’s support of Hoima Sugar links NCBA Bank to the various environmental, social, and governance-related issues associated with Hoima Sugar’s activities in Bugoma Forest. This asset financing contradicts NCBA Group’s own commitment to “sustainable investment and community growth.

The CSOs are asking NCNA Bank to immediately withdraw asset financing and require early repayment from Hoima Sugar Limited. They also want the Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project to be stopped and that Hoima Sugar provides financial redress for negative impacts suffered. 

The Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project has caused people to lose employment and livelihoods, depleted Bugoma Forest resources, caused culture degradation, increased human - animal conflicts and destruction of species habitats. 

TotalEnergies, NFA Ink Deal To Conserve Budongo Forest

TotolEnergies EP Uganda and the National Forestry Authority (NFA) have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to conserve Budongo Forest, Uganda's largest central forest reserve. 

Mariam Nampeera Mbowa, the Deputy General Manager of TotalEnergies and Okello Tom Obong, the Executive Director of NFA, signed the contract for their respective organizations. 

The MOU, according to TotalEnergies, marks the start of raising awareness of Budongo’s immense biodiversity value & supports NFA in its strategic objectives to improve the management of central forest reserves.

Nampeera said that with this MOU, TotalEnergies is boosting the effective management of biodiversity in Uganda by developing a Forest Management Plan that will enhance the extent and quality of the tropical high forest within Budongo.

“The Company aims to achieve positive outcomes for biodiversity & communities by working with NFA & other partners to support community forest management groups,” Nampeera said.

She noted that the Tilenga Biodiversity Program is one of the commitments made in delivering the Tilenga Project which aims to achieve positive outcomes for biodiversity in Murchison Falls National Park, Savanna habitats, wetlands & forests. 

Obong, the ED of NFA said the goal of this MOU is to strengthen forest management. He acknowledged that TotalEnergies has a long history of participating in activities associated with biodiversity conservation in Uganda. 

“We embrace this partnership as one of our collaborative approaches to the sustainable management of forest reserves. Budongo and other forests are habitats for a vast array of wildlife.

"So, this is something which is not coming from the blue. It is in our strategic plan. It is something which we anticipated many years ago and we want to continue consolidating and building new partnerships for sustainable forest management," he said. 

Budongo is home to an estimated 600-800 Chimpanzees and the largest mahogany forest in East Africa.

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