By Samuel Opio
Uganda has been recognized and applauded for excelling in its contribution to the success of the FAO-China South-South Cooperation (SSC), a programme designed to improve food security through knowledge sharing.
This was during the Ministerial Forum for Global South to South Cooperation held on 2nd November 2018 in Changsha city, Hunan Province of China.
Hon. Vincent Sempijja, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries received the award from H.E. Hu Chunhua, Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China.
The Vice Premier informed representatives of governments and partners that for five years in a row now, China has produced 600 million tons of food with 50% of the land accounting for agricultural activities. He further stated that China has been able to lift its people out of poverty through agriculture, which he described as fundamental to the country’s overall development.
In his opening remarks, the Chinese Minister of Agriculture & Rural Affairs, H.E. Han Changfu noted that over the years, China has been at the forefront of fighting food insecurity working with different agencies across the globe such as the Food and Agriculture Organization that was represented by their Director General, Jose Graziano De Silva.
Special recognition was given to Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his outstanding efforts to bridge household income gaps through agriculture and taking advantage of the South to South cooperation for the betterment of agriculture in the country.
It is worth noting that agricultural trade between China and Africa exceeded US$ 6billion in 2017, and Chinese enterprises had invested in 117 large-scale agricultural projects. Looking ahead, China expects to underwrite the next chapter of the China South to South Cooperation by: promoting diverse partnerships with UN agencies to better utilize the South-South opportunities, human resource capacity development, creating an enabling environment through better governance among other initiatives.
In his key note address, Hon Vincent Ssempijja, identified with the forum theme of “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: New Opportunities for Global South-South Cooperation in Agriculture” highlighting a chronology of partnerships between the People’s Republic of China and Government of Uganda.
Among the achievements ensuing from these partnerships is: introduction of high yielding Chinese hybrid rice (10tons/ha), fox tail millet that are both high yielding, improved apple and mushroom agronomic practices for increased production and productivity, establishment of rice-fish culture for optimal utilization of water and land resources and enhanced mechanized livestock feed processing.
This is in addition to the human capacity development that has become the norm in the partnership with 3,000 farmers trained and 80 technical staff trained.
“This cooperation has helped our farmers to produce and sell apples, mushrooms, Chinese hybrid rice, fish and milk which has contributed to ensuring food security and increased farmer incomes,” he said.
Food and Agriculture Organization Director General Jose Graziano da Silva, in his address observed that, “South-South Cooperation is an effective instrument for sharing knowledge and expertise; for exchanging experiences; and for engaging in policy dialogues. It offers horizontal cooperation between countries based on the concept of solidarity that breaks the traditional dichotomy between donors and recipient countries.”
FAO and Uganda have a long history of cooperation. Under the SSC, FAO has encouraged knowledge sharing to improve productivity. Over 47 Chinese agricultural experts and technicians have extended support to Uganda’s agricultural sector in addressing the skills gaps along specific crop, livestock and fisheries value chains.
The recognition of Uganda for its significant contribution to the successful design and implementation of the SSC programme provides new impetus in the efforts to achieve food security and promote sustainable agricultural development in the country.