Following the establishment of Humidtropics’ Innovation Platforms (IPs) in Uganda in 2013, a number of activities that target livelihoods improvement have been implemented. While IPs provide spaces for different actors to learn together, and research provides the necessary evidence to make sound investment decisions, so far, the bulk of the agronomic evidence produced by Humidtropics is being used by smallholders at the farm level.
Over the last two years, Dr. Fred Mukulu, Chairperson of the Mukono-Wakiso IP, who also acts as District Production and Marketing Officer, realized the benefits that the IP brought to his work, dedicated to improving productivity and marketing. In 2014, he convinced the District Council, using the research results and evidence generated by the IPs, to allocate 1 million Ugandan shillings to support Humidtropics’ activities. In 2015, this budget was increased to 4 million.
Through the Policy Action for Sustainable Intensification of Cropping Systems (PASIC) project that was involved in the process of developing the new National Extension Policy, Dr. Mukulu was invited to a validation workshop, where he claimed that his experience with Humidtropics would benefit the draft policy. This earned him an invitation to present the result of the work accomplished by researchers and members of the Mukono-Wakiso IP to General Caleb Akandwanaho, Head of Operation Wealth Creation (a transition extension body), and agricultural ministers and other technocrats. During this meeting, the experiences of Humidtropics were used to shape the National Extension Policy.
PASIC is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) of Uganda. Taking a systems approach to policy action, PASIC studies included agronomic diagnostic, socio economic household surveys, and analysis of value chains, and policies and institutions, and uses research evidence to shape policies and plans at national and sub national levels. The project targets two agro-ecological zones, one zone for producing rice and the other one for Irish potato, and the evidence gathered in the two zones is used to guide national and local policies for sustainable intensification.
After a series of research studies at crop, community and market levels, key investment recommendations for sustainable intensification were made. In feedback workshops, various stakeholders, such as farmers, traders, stockists, researchers and district leadership, vetted the evidence and also held discussions on what the findings mean for them.
Following these feedback workshops, four out of six districts – Kabale, Butaleja, Kisoro and Kanungu – aligned their agricultural investment priorities based on the findings of PASIC, and the District Councils subsequently adopted resolutions to adapt their 5-year District Development Plans for the period 2016-2021.
The priority areas identified by PASIC for sustainable intensification have since been submitted to the MAAIF to determine if this has any implications for the 5-year National Agricultural Sector Strategic Plan.
PASIC is a research project mapped to Humidtropics, whose goal is to stimulate action in selected policies and programs, relevant for intensification of smallholder crop production systems. PASIC partners are the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), and Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM).
Blog by Odiirah Nansamba, PASIC Communication Officer, and Perez Muchunguzi, Multistakeholder Specialist, IITA. Photos by PASIC.
Humidtropics would like to acknowledge the CGIAR Fund Donors, and other donors and investors for their provision of core and project-specific funding without which the Program could not deliver results that eventually positively impact the lives of millions of smallholder farmers in tropical Americas, Asia and Africa.