Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister or Science, Technology and Innovation

The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation

Uganda will mid next week hold a three-day high level conference on the application of science, technology in harnessing African agricultural transformation.

Participants at the conference will among others, showcase the current and potential impact of application of science, technology and innovation for improved agricultural productivity, value-addition and poverty reduction.

They will also explore the status of Agriculture in Africa capturing the past, current and future trends.

The participants will comprise high-level policy makers, experts, farmers, investor, regulators, communicators, development partners and the media.

Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister or Science, Technology and Innovation said on September 22 that the conference at Speak Resort Munyonyo will be held under the theme ‘Integrating the path in Africa’s agricultural transformation’. According to the Minister, Uganda will share knowledge and experience in areas of biotechnology during the conference.

“Uganda needs urgent interventions to find ways of mainstreaming utilization of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to transform agriculture needs,” Dr. Tumwesigye said.

He said the use of Biotechnology in Sub-Saharan Africa has tremendously grown and that the yields are impressive, with South Africa and Sudan growing biotech crops on a large scale.

“We are proposing that Africa needs urgent intervention in innovation and technology in harnessing agriculture,” he said, adding that some small scale farmers in Uganda are already successfully using biotechnology.

He also said Uganda would use the conference to showcase how to fight some pests and diseases, which have of recent affected Uganda’s agricultural productivity, particularly the army fall worm that hit farms in the first season.

For Africa to benefit from cutting-edge science, technology and innovation to mitigate its challenges, key issues need to be addressed such as low technology access, low public investment in agricultural research and development as well as public perceptions, among others.

Such issues, according to the minister will be addressed during the conference in Kampala supported by other stakeholders such as The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), African Union Commission (AUC) and the Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Among the topics to be discussed are; The state of agriculture in Africa ,  Contributions of conventional science, technology and innovations to modern agriculture, Integrating modern biotechnology into Africa’s agriculture for food security, Securing smallholder farmers’ resilience to impacts of climate change, Fostering evidence-based policies for transformational change in Africa’s agriculture and the critical role of PPPs in transforming African agriculture.

Other topics to be discussed will be; strengthening intellectual property rights to catalyze transformational change in Africa’s agriculture, Inspiring a Climate for Change to enhance food security, Regional approaches to biotech adoption and trade in Africa, Winning political patronage/support to advances science in the age of ‘alternative facts’ and Repositioning agriculture in Africa towards agribusiness entrepreneurial ship.

President Yoweri  Museveni , former Tanzanian president-Benjamin Mkapa Ms. Gina Grey Ivey from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Hamadou Biteye the managing director Rockefeller foundation, Prof. Kevin Folta the University of Florida, Dr. C.D Mayee president Asian Biotechnology and Cyprian Ebong -Executive director ASARECA are expected to attend the conference.