More than 23,000 smallholder maize and rice farmers and state-owned prison farms across the country are set to benefit from a consignment of 2,700 metric tonnes of fertilizer worth Shs7.1 billion donation from global fertilizer manufacturer, Yara International.
The fertilizer was received by the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja, the Representative of OWC, Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Fisheries), Hellen Adoa, among other government officials.
The farmers are part of the 250,000 smallholder maize farmers in seven countries across Southern and Eastern Africa benefitting from this initiative dubbed Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future. Through this initiative, supported by the United Nations, the Norwegian government and African institutions, Yara’s fertilizer contribution, combined with agronomic support, is expected to triple maize production and feed more than one million people across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique for one year.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people facing acute hunger could double. Therefore, this initiative seeks to provide an avenue to enhance food production and in turn boost food security.
“Vulnerable communities may face the most devastating food crisis in decades. If we don’t act now, millions of people will be pushed into deep poverty and hunger. This is especially worrying in Africa where lives and livelihoods are at risk. As a critical part of the food value chain, we have a responsibility to support vulnerable farming communities and help avert a hunger crisis,” notes Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara International.
Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future will include support for the African Green Revolution Forum, Generation Africa and the Farm to Market Alliance. The initiative will work in coordination with WFP, AGRA, AFAP and other regional and local organizations to strengthen operational support, manage on-the-ground operations and to provide digital enablement and personalized agronomic advice.
In Uganda, Yara East Africa will be working in partnership with key partners to deliver this fertilizer, including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Operation Wealth Creation ( OWC ), AGRA, AFAP and IBERO Uganda. The fertilizer will be delivered directly to the farmer co-operatives and groups and then to the individual farmers.
“The UGX 7.2 Billion set aside for the roll out of this initiative in Uganda , provides for the fertilizer and extension support to farmers using digital communication platforms, communication at the point of collection and field visits on how to best utilize farm inputs including the fertilizer so as to realize great gains,” Ngeno added on to say.
“This initiative provides a good model for how the private sector and individual companies can step up, in partnership with African institutions, Governments and organizations like WFP, to help sustain production and food supply chains and safeguard the people most at risk during this pandemic,” says David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP).
The shipment of 2,700 metric tonnes that arrived in Uganda in September 2020, has been customized and calibrated to meet the soil needs of maize farmers in the Western, Eastern, North and Central Uganda.
Each farmer will receive 250 kilogrammes bags of fertilizer for planting and top dressing their maize crop, during the short rain season of August to November.