The Agriculture Sector Programme Support (ASPS) II will stop its operations at the end of this year to pave way for the new programme, Daily Monitor has learnt.
According to a statement from ASPS, Uganda, its operations will be wrapped up in a new programme, U-Growth, which is expected to be launched early next year. “The ASPS II started implementation in mid 2004 and will conclude end of 2009,” the statement reads in part.
ASPS II project was designed based on the objectives of the Poverty Eradication Action Plan and the Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture in 2004, to increase incomes, improve food security and improve the quality of life for economically active low income farmers.
Its immediate objective, however, was to increase productivity and increase the share of agricultural production that is marketed by farmers. Going though the organisation’s achievements, the statements says more than 330, 000 farmers and agri-businesses have received a range of business services, trainings and capacity building directly through ASPS II. “The programme has contributed to delivery of advisory services to more than 700,000 farmers and development of research technologies for the benefit of farmers,” it states.
Over 230, 000 farmers have been supported through 71 farmer associations, with over 600 business proposals supported, it adds. Under the rehabilitation of livelihoods in northern Uganda programme, ASPS also provided a range of support to IDPs returning home to take up their agricultural livelihoods in three districts in Lango region.
The programme also saw over 3,000 kilometres of community access roads rehabilitated, 840 acres of woodlot established and 242 water points protected.
The programme, which has been implemented through six components, each addressing different aspects of the sector, has also contributed support to the National Agricultural Advisory Services programme through basket funding with other development partners.
It has also supported the National Agricultural Research System through earmarked sector budget support and has engaged in the dialogue around agricultural research. The programme has also supported a number of innovative concepts by enterprises as well as piloting new methodologies and approaches.
Besides farming, ASPS worked with Nucafe, the coffee farmers’ umbrella association, to pilot a new approach to working with gender issues. The intervention focused on the specific area of household decision making concerning the income from coffee.
Foot and mouth strikes again
Four years later, foot and mouth is back, sinking its fangs into Western Uganda. Alfred Tumushabe writes about how people in Kiruhura are coping with the disease.
Although it was thought to have been wiped out, foot and mouth disease (FMD) has resurged in Kiruhura and Isingiro districts in the past three weeks. The disease was not successfully fought in 2006 when it intensified, and now threatens the livelihood for the area’s people.
According to Dr Francis Mugisha, the district veterinary officer (DVO) for Kiruhura, the disease is confirmed in Sanga Sub County and Lake Mburo National Park in Kiruhura District, and Kabingo and Masha Sub counties in Isingiro District. “We are battling with FMD in Sanga and the [Lake Mburo national] park,” he said.
The extent of the disease’s upsurge cannot be ascertained as most of the farmers tend to first conceal their farm’s status, the DVO says. Although vaccination is underway, there seems to be a shortage in supply of the needed vaccine. “We had 4,000 doses, now they are over but we hope to get more,” said Isingiro DVO, Dr Bruhan Kasozi. The dry season is blamed for the disease. Drought caused livestock mobility in search of water and pasture and facilitated the wild-fire-like spread of the disease. Police and veterinary officials deployed heavily and erected roadblocks to curtail movement of livestock and their products – (meat and ghee).
Effect on livelihood
The spread of the disease called for the closure of communal livestock markets, commonly known as ebikomera that are an avenue for the spread of contagious livestock diseases. FMD spreads fast as farmers and traders move livestock across village, sub county and district borders to these markets. Cattle keepers have traditionally attached great importance to these markets. Their continued closure in Mbarara, Kiruhura, Isingiro, Lyantonde, Sembabule and Ntungamo districts has constrained the economic livelihood of the vast dependants on cattle.
“Our economic way of life is suited by such markets. The advantage with communal markets is that we sell all sizes of livestock; goats, sheep and big and small cows,” says Safari Mugyenyi, a cattle keeper in Sanga, Kiruhura.
He says that in the absence of these markets, prices of livestock animals have lowered compared to when they were operating. “In such markets are many buyers, so there is competition, but now a buyer comes to your farm selects the best and buys it cheaply,” he says, adding, “We are dealing with few buyers at times compelled to sell to them on credit.”
Said Ssegirinya, a livestock trader and butcher in Mbarara since the 1990s, says although the prices of cows have appreciated since 2007, it could be much higher than it is now if markets were open. “A cow that used to sell at Shs300,000 in 2007 now goes for Shs500,000. But the price would be more than this if there were markets because there would many buyers,” he said. Foot and mouth is not only taking a heavy toll on the farmers but also on local governments revenues, the Isingiro LC5 chairman, Mr Ignatius Byaruhanga says.
“Local government used to levy taxes from these by-monthly markets to run development activities, we now can’t get anything. Its a real disaster, people don’t have incomes, they can’t earn money,” he said.
The disease is said to have originated from the Lake Mburo National Park where the neighbouring cattle keepers graze and water animals. “This disease has been in the national parks since June in buffalos, antelopes and other animals. They are carriers and its symptoms may not be seen but they keep with it,” Dr Kasozi. The park’s warden Augustine Masereka, however denies this, saying FMD is outside the park.
Control measures for foot and mouth include quarantine and destruction of infected livestock, and bans for meat and other animal products to areas not infected with the disease.
Source: newsroom - meattradenewsdaily.co.uk
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