On 16th October, Uganda will joins the rest of the world for the 35th National World Food Day celebrations. The UN Governing Council November 1979 declared 16th October of every year to be the day to celebrate World Food Day. It is also the same day that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO) was founded In Quebec, Canada in 1945. All governments, national and international organizations in the world take time to reflect on the status of food security, hunger, malnutrition, poverty and agricultural development issues.
The World Food Day is celebrated every year under different themes. The theme for this year is “change the future of Migration, invest in food security and Rural Development’’. The theme recognizes the negative effects on migration on food security and rural development. Migration is in two forms; internal migration and international migration (refugees). In Uganda the influx of refugees has been high. This calls for increased food production to support the growing population in refugee c amps. This will be done through building resilience of agricultural livelihoods and landscapes to ensure sustainable food security and wealth creation
World Food Day Celebrations present an opportunity to discuss salient issues affecting food security, hunger, malnutrition and poverty. The world food day sets a platform for local and foreign companies, public and private organizations’, institutions to display their innovations, improved technologies and practices for better production, processing and marketing in Agriculture.
The vision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries is to transform agriculture into a competitive, profitable and sustainable sector. The sector has continued to register positive growth over the years. Agriculture growth rate has risen from 0.8 in 2011/12 to 3.2% 2015/16. The sector contribution to GDP is currently 26.2 %. Our target is to raise it to 5.6% as stated in the National Development Plan 2 and Vision 2040. The sector continues to play an important role in food security and nutrition, employment, wealth creation, the manufacturing industry and export trade.

The Ministry has developed the Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) 2015/16 to 2019/20 which is fully aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP II) with the core objectives to;
• Increase incomes through increasing production and productivity
• Ensure household food and nutrition security
• Create on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities
• Promote value-addition to agricultural products
• Promote domestic and external trade in agricultural products

The Ministry will continue, over the medium term to pursue policies and interventions that promote increased value addition, in order to improve our foreign exchange base. The Government will pursue interventions aimed at boosting the export potential so as to significantly reduce the import bill.
For example through NAADS/Operation Wealth Creation (OWC);
Increasing coffee production from the current 3,531,200 bags, of which 3,237,924 bags were exported generating US$ 410.064m to 20 million bags by 2020, valued at approx. USD 2.4 billion. This will be made possible by promoting elite varieties resistant to wilt, and distribution of 100 million coffee seedlings per annum, expanding the area under coffee production by 5% in traditional areas and 25% in new areas and also addressing the agronomical challenges through provision of extension services.
The tea industry has also made tremendous progress in the last 10 years with production at 61,376 MT, of which 60,504 MT were exported generating US$ 84.7m. Our target is to produce 135,308 MT by 2020, valued at approx.USD190m. The Government will continue supporting the production and distribution of 34,965,000 quality tea plantlets per annum through Operation Wealth Creation programme.
The Government has made big strides in the development of the Vegetable oil industry; a total of over 10,000 hectares of palm trees has been established, development of 33 traditional oil mills and about 80,000 households have benefited from this intervention through increased incomes and employment opportunities in Kalangala and Buvuma as well as districts in Eastern and Northern Uganda.

In the livestock sub-sector,
Milk production has increased continuously and now stands at approximately 2.2 billion litres annually. Our target is 3.35billion litres annually by 2020 e.g. through enhancing availability of improved dairy cattle genetics, improved access to water, and livestock feeds; and boosting the processing capacity.
In beef, our target is 360,000MT by 2020. This FY 2016/17, Uganda under the Egypt- Uganda Food Security project is targeting to export beef from 1200 cattle per month. This will be achieved through support to animal breeding infrastructure, provision of water and meat export support services

The target set by the Government is to transform the majority of subsistence farmers (68%) and graduate them towards commercial agricultural production, so as to raise family gross income to at least shs.20,000,000 per year. This is possible, and there are farmers across all the agricultural zones that are already getting this income from either single or a combination of enterprises (e.g Dairy, Tea, Cocoa, Oil palm, Coffee, Cassava, fruits and vegetables etc.)

The Ministry has prioritized activities that lead to increased production and productivity in agriculture which require investing in technology development including research, seed, fertilizer, water for crops and animals, mechanization, pest and disease control, animal husbandry and fisheries. They form a common denominator to raising both crops and animals. Specific emphasis continues to be given to increasing efforts in provision of water for irrigation, livestock and for aquaculture by partnering with the private sector and building dams and valley tanks for farmer groups. The Ministry also continues to promote value addition especially under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) so as to minimize post- harvest losses and improve the quality of agricultural products.

The Sector still faces a number of challenges at the different stages of commodity value chains. Key among these are;
Reliance on rain fed agriculture.
Low value addition to agricultural produce
Low level of mechanization in agricultural operations;
High incidence of pests and diseases
Relatively under developed agro-processing industry
Negative impacts of Climate change
These challenges are further compounded by the impacts of land fragmentation and climate change.

Government is continuing to prioritize water for agriculture production especially for the twelve (12) strategic commodities of coffee, tea, cotton, maize, rice, beans, bananas, cassava, fruits, dairy, beef, and fish. Last year, the Ministry constructed 250 valley tanks and will continue to construct small scale on farm valley tanks and valley dam for farmers in water stricken areas in the 56 districts of the cattle corridor.

I call upon farmers and other land users to adopt practices of smart agriculture which include; soil and water conservation; conservation Agriculture; agro-forestry; manure management, irrigation, mechanization of production systems and integrated nutrient and pest management; aquaculture development as well as forestation, wetland, sustainable pasture and rangeland management.

I call upon all sectors, local governments, non-governmental organizations, private sector, researchers and institutions of learning to renew commitment and strengthen to support crop farmers, livestock farmers and other land users to efficiently use their land and avert the looming negative impacts.

The Celebrations will be officiated by His excellence the Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the president of the republic of Uganda and it will be held at KAZARDI, Karengyere station, Rubanda District.

You are all welcome