January 31, 2013 – KAMPALA, Uganda – The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) officially launched the CATALIST-Uganda project to help strengthen Uganda’s agricultural sector. The event, held at the Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe, was presided over by Tress Bucyanayandi Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. IFDC focuses on increasing agricultural productivity and food security in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.
Drawing lessons from nearly four decades of experience in similar projects across Asia, Latin America and Africa, IFDC will work to improve agricultural value chains and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Uganda. The four-year project is supported financially by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its embassy in Uganda. CATALIST-Uganda will focus on creating sustainable commercial smallholder agriculture through improved productivity and market development. IFDC will work with the Government of Uganda, members of the agricultural value chain and other stakeholders to help build Uganda’s potential as a regional food basket.
According to David Slane, project chief of party, “a convergence of Uganda’s natural endowments and IFDC’s experience in the agro-sector provide the right ingredients for the success of the CATALIST-Uganda project. Involved farmers’ productivity and incomes are expected to increase and they will be linked to input and output markets through improved value chains.”
IFDC has worked in the Ugandan agricultural sector for several years. It has been involved in agro-dealer and seed sector development in Uganda through the Extending Agro-Dealers Network (EADN) project, the Regional Agricultural Input Market Information and Transparency System (AMITSA) and COMESA’s Regional Agro-Inputs Programme (COMRAP). These projects strengthened input markets and provided a strong network for IFDC to build upon.
The project will use tested systems to integrate cropping systems around priority commodities – Irish potatoes, cassava and rice – combined with an accelerated agribusiness cluster development approach appropriate for Uganda. In addition to agricultural intensification, attention will be focused on input market development (both seeds and fertilizer), output (surplus crops) marketing, effective linkages to agribusinesses and improvement of the policy environment.
By the end of the project in 2016, expectations are that 100,000 smallholder farmers will have doubled yields, achieved a 50 percent increase in incomes and produced an annual marketable surplus of 200,000 metric tons of cereal equivalents. This will help increase rural incomes and trade in Uganda, as well as food security in the region.
Tress Bucyanayandi, Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, speaks to a large crowd at the official launch of IFDC’s CATALIST-Uganda project.
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