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After 12 impactful years of transformational agricultural initiatives in Uganda, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) had every reason to celebrate the organization’s global 50th anniversary celebration through an Open Door event on April 16 in Kampala. This vibrant event showcased IFDC’s dedication to agricultural development and sustainability.  

The lineup of guests in attendance included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), donor organizations, development partners, program beneficiaries, and well-wishers. 

Josephat Byaruhanga, Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Agribusiness who represented the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Uganda, said during his remarks at the Open Doors event, “We’re proud to have collaborated with IFDC since the inception of its initiatives in Uganda 12 years ago. IFDC has been instrumental in introducing new value chain crops, particularly potatoes, to the country. Prior to IFDC’s intervention, the potato sector relied heavily on imported varieties.” 

Josephat Byaruhanga, Senior Policy Officer for Agriculture and Agribusiness of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, highlights the agricultural impact that comes from collaboration.

John Mugisha, the Director of Namakwaland Farms, observed that through a partnership with IFDC, they were able to construct a cold room for storing potato seed, a move that has helped to curb losses. “We were struggling to preserve potato seed because we lacked storage facilities. Thankfully, through collaboration with IFDC, we constructed a cold room, which has been very beneficial to the community,” Mugisha remarked.  

Speaking on behalf of the Minister for Agriculture, MAAIF Commissioner for the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification Paul Mwambu emphasized the need for collaboration to build resilience among farming communities.

“We applaud IFDC for promoting interventions that build the resilience of farmers. The organization’s approach of introducing different crops gives farmers options in case of disasters.” 

Paul Mwambu, MAAIF Commissioner for the Department of Crop Inspection and Certification
Registered guests receive documents about IFDC’s initiatives in Uganda.

Samuel Ssempala, the IFDC Country Director for Uganda, noted that IFDC operations in Uganda have been successful because of continued collaboration with partners, stating, “Our journey in Uganda stresses the power of collaboration and commitment to agricultural development. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our partners, such as the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Uganda, USAID, GIZ Uganda, and the broader development community for their invaluable support. These enduring partnerships, exemplified through initiatives such as the early CATALIST and REACH projects funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have been pivotal in fostering sustainable agricultural growth.”  

Further, Ssempala stated that at the core of IFDC’s vision of healthier soils and plants for a food-secure and environmentally sustainable world is a rallying cry that guides the organization’s work.  

Participants meet and interact with guests during the Open Door event.

Current transformative initiatives in Uganda include:

Building Resilience and Inclusive Growth of Highland farming systems for rural Transformation (BRIGHT): The BRIGHT project, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeks to bolster resilience among over 100,000 highland farm households in Uganda against economic and climate-related adversities.

SOILS-Space to Place: The USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS) launched through IFDC’s Feed the Future Sustainable Opportunities for Improving Livelihoods with Soils (SOILS) program the 3-year SOILS-S2P initiative to enhance fertilizer use efficiency among resource-constrained smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

IFDC strives to bring together innovative research, market expertise, and strategic partnerships to scale sustainable solutions for soil and plant nutrition, benefiting farmers, entrepreneurs, and the environment alike. Such goals, celebrated and reaffirmed at the Open Door event, further embody IFDC’s collective commitment to improving agricultural value chains and uplifting the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.