The preparations for the 2nd Symposium of the Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (UFAAS) is in full gear. The Symposium is slated to run from 5th to 7th May 2020 under the theme of: “Positioning Extension and Advisory Services for the National Agricultural Priorities of commercialization and Agro-industrialization”. The Symposium shall be held in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) among other partners. It is expected to bring together over 200 participants. They shall deliberate on issues under the theme within the context of the National Agricultural Extension Policy (NAEP, 2016). This policy currently guides the Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) strategies and programmes of the MAAIF. Most notable in this regard is the drive by MAAIF to transform the AEAS from a system of parallel institutionally fragmented public and non-state actors (NSAs) to a well-coordinated, harmonized, regulated pluralistic service, with multiple providers addressing diverse needs of farmers and other beneficiaries. Significantly,the Policy explicitly recognizes the NSAs as important elements of the extension system as evidenced by their integration in its (MAAIF’s) capacity development strategies and programmes.
The UFAAS is one of the recognised NSAs that has a general objective of contributing to the MAAIF agenda by bringing together public and private AEAS actors including academia, schools, NGOs, civil society, farmer organizations and media. It specifically aims to promote partnerships among them, supporting AEAS advocacy, capacity building, information sharing and professional interaction. In doing all these things, its beacon is a vision of: “Professional AEAS effectively driving the agricultural revolution in Uganda”. Currently, UFAAS reaches out to over 1,000 actors. The alignment of its activities with MAAIF is sealed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2016. Some of the achievements under this MoU are highlighted in Text Box below.2nd
Examples of the contributions of UFAAS to the MAAIF Agenda
UFAAS Participated in the Technical Working Group (TWG) in the formulation of the National Agricultural, Extension Policy (NAEP, 2016)
(a) Develop Guidelines and standards (b) Ethical code of conduct and (c) Process of registration and accreditation of AEAS providers in Uganda.
Subsequently UFAAS sensitized public and NSA actors on these guidelines in 38 districts in Uganda
UFAAS Spearheaded the development and operationalization of a user-friendly registration mechanism for all NSAs as the foundation for their ultimate registration and accreditation as professional AEAS providers under different categories
UFAAS created a Community of Practice for Gender and Nutrition
UFAAS created and is managing the Uganda National Agricultural-Extension Platform, a quick and invaluable communication tool for networking, sharing ideas and solutions to challenges