- Monday, 16 October 2017
Offshoots from EBAFOSA Uganda National Day of Resilience and Food Security
On 22nd September, EBAFOSA Uganda commemorated their 1st anniversary since the launch of EBAFOSA in Uganda at the Uganda National Farmers Federation hall, Kampala. The objective of this commemoration was to take stock of EBAFOSA progress and based on this, promote EBAFOSA as the priority initiative that will accelerate climate resilient socioeconomic transformation in Uganda through establishing the EBA Driven Agriculture based, clean energy powered agro-industrial zones. As a result, attract support of additional key stakeholders at policy level (to finalize establishment and recognition in government of the inter-agency policy task force) and at operational level to aggregate ground actions towards establishing these clean energy powered agro-industrial zones towards a low emissions development pathway.
The guests of honour were the Director of Environment Affairs, Ministry of Water & Environment and the Minister of Agriculture in the Buganda Kingdom. In his remarks, the Director of Environment thanked EBAFOSA for providing Uganda a forum to mobilize innovative ideas towards climate proofing & maximizing productivity of its food systems in a manner that is paving a pathway way towards realising low emissions development. He noted that agriculture, a critical socioeconomic sector employing 70% of Uganda’s labour force is impacted by climate change lowering agro-productivity and by extension the Ugandan economy. For example, the rate of economic growth in 2016/2017 is at 3.9%, well below the projected 5.8%, a fact that coincided with two droughts experienced in quick succession. The implication being that the drought could be among contributory factors. He therefore lauded the integrated EBAFOSA approach eliminating inefficiencies along the entire food system. From on farm where EBA approaches capable of increasing yields up to 128% under the changing climate are used ensuring climate change does not lower yields; to direct linkage of on-farm production to clean energy to power value addition & ICT to enhance linkages to markets & supply chains – all which serve to lower post-harvest losses (PHLs) that average as high as 60% and create additional income opportunities without adding onto aggregate emissions of Uganda. He underscored the need for partnerships among complementary actors at both policy & operational level towards building climate resilient economic growth in Uganda as above. He further noted the policy & financial investments put in place by the government towards the above on which EBAFOSA is building through catalysing additional mutual partnerships at both policy & operational level to actualize the envisaged economic, climate resilience & food security strategies of Uganda.
On his part, the Minister of State for Agriculture of the Kingdom of Buganda used the occasion to formally launch the Buganda Kingdom - EBAFOSA Uganda collaboration aimed at maximizing productivity of the cassava value chain. Cassava, the second most important staple crop in Uganda faces up to 90% Post Harvest Losses (PHLs) translating to over US$30 million lost annually primarily due to lack of adequate value addition. Through this collaboration, the Buganda Kingdom which has negotiated to supply the Uganda Breweries with high grade cassava will benefit from reduced inefficiencies along the entire value chain. On-farm, where through EBAFOSA Uganda, the Buganda Kingdom farmers will partner with experts for knowledge on application of EBA driven approaches and with suppliers of solar powered micro-irrigation for clean energy on-farm value addition - cumulatively enhancing resilience of their crop against droughts to stabilize their supply to the breweries hence consolidate their markets. Post-farm gate where through EBAFOSA, farmers will partner with clean energy enterprises for various levels of post-farm gate value addition e.g. solar drying to minimize spoilage and also benefit from ICT applications for lower cost, timely linkages to markets & supply chains. Cumulatively these post farm gate linkages are projected to lower PHLs thus stabilize & enhance farmer incomes. All these achieved without adding onto aggregate emissions from Uganda. This collaboration is projected to create income opportunities not only at the farmer level but along the entire cassava value chain with suppliers of cuttings and also in ancillary chains of clean energy & ICT.
The event also included exhibitions by multiple actors along the EBAFOSA continuum making impact in creating socioeconomic development opportunities out of climate actions that connect clean energy with agro-value addition. For example, through the framework of EBAFOSA, collaboration between a high school & a university are creating income opportunities for youth in waste to energy called the “Waste to Energy Youth Project”. This collaboration between the St. Kizito High School and the Ndejje University is producing fuel briquette and organic fertilizers complete with packaging from farm waste. And in the process, creating incomes. Fertilizer production is part scaling EBA while fuel briquette provide clean energy alternatives to offset carbon from forest harvesting. This initiative successfully transformed St, Kizito High School, from use of firewood to use of their fuel briquettes saving up to 7 trucks of firewood per term and 21 trucks per year. Scaling this model across Uganda, with a total of 20,000 schools means saving over 4,200,000 trucks worth of trees every year.
Targeting youth of 12 to 35 years the initiative is not only imparting practical skills in briquette production, EBA & smart agriculture and waste management but is also supplementing technical skills with the Business / Entrepreneurial training. This is knowledge required for them to start, run and expand such project. The business component covers basic feasibility study, market research, business plan formulation, pitching to investors to starting and expanding the venture. This collaboration is ensuring the participants come out of the training as green job creators rather than the trend of job seekers that are being produced from the Education institution. Going forward, EBAFOSA is set to introduce standardization and ICT enabled market & supply chain linkages to enhance marketability & reduce marketing costs of this group of youth. It is also set to link these energy sources to additional uses along the agro-value chain especially eateries.
At the policy level, EBAFOSA is set to ensure linkage to the Ministry of Education to facilitate integration of this green jobs model to relevant curriculum at primary & high school level. EBAFOSA Uganda becomes the 2nd National branch to commemorate their first anniversary.
Through these two land-mark initiatives alone – the cassava value chain & the waste to energy - EBAFOSA is demonstrating how bridging silos through mutual partnerships, Africa can pave a low emissions development pathway – actualizing leading socioeconomic development priorities of food & livelihood security while simultaneously offsetting carbon & enhancing ecosystems resilience to meet objectives of the Paris Agreement.