African countries are highly susceptible to risks originating from various sources ranging from climate and natural hazards, market and volatile prices, including unpredictable policies and regulation and countries such as Uganda are no exception.
Recently NEPAD’s Agriculture Risk Management & Resilience programme in partnership with IFAD, Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PARM), FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in Uganda hosted a trilogy meeting on Agriculture Risk Assessment in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting commenced with a two-day validation workshop on Agriculture Risk Assessment and Information System Studies, followed by the capacity development workshop and concluded with a steering committee meeting.
In the past, many small-scale farmers have had to struggle from various agricultural risks such as floods, pro-longed droughts and price changes to mention but a few. The challenge in this initiative is that risk management tools adapted to the African context are still at an early stage of development. These tools are either being designed or tested in a few countries and there is no evidence on which tool to apply under specific circumstances.
Moreover, recurrent agriculture and food market crises have undermined the productive asset base of rural producers and increased their vulnerability to food insecurity and under-nutrition, hence reducing their capacity to adopt new technologies and innovation.
It is therefore very important that government, farmers and the private sector remain well equipped and ready to cope with any risk from any source, ahead and right on time.
The NEPAD Agency together with FAO, IFAD and Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PAM) are therefore playing a major role in shedding more light on identifying risk factors and relevant tools and policies that will constitute the basis of a risk management strategy to be carried out into the up-coming Agriculture Sector Strategy Plan (ASSP 2016-2019). This initiative will contribute to organising and fostering partnerships among the various but scattered initiatives to bring the successful ones up to scale and share experiences and lessons learnt across the country and the region.
This cross-sectorial approach to managing risk factors helps mitigate the impact of crises and building resilience of rural producers and actors along the value chain through stabilisation of production, markets and institutions. Moreover, this will support the creation of soft infrastructure to provide inclusive rural productive and financial services in addition to making rural activities attractive to the youth by creating a sustainable path for productivity and income growth.
All meetings we graced by Minister Vincent Ssempija, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in Uganda and its representatives. The NEPAD Agency was represented by Mariam Soumare, Principal Programme Officer Food Security.