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.
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.