Friday August 29 2014

‘Low water investment can cause food insecurity’

By Olive Eyotaru

KAMPALA-Agricultural experts have warned that Uganda could plunge into “acute” food shortage in the near future if investment in water production is not urgently prioritised.

While speaking at a national stakeholders meeting on opportunities for investment in smart agriculture in Kampala yesterday, Dr Alan Nicol, the director of Global Water Initiative East Africa, said Uganda’s unpredictable weather patterns and neglecting water would worsen food insecurity.

“Smallholder farmers in East Africa probably provide about 70 per cent of food. So find ways of making water available that they can use to grow crops that they would otherwise not have,” he said.

Dr Sarah Ssewanyana, the executive director of Economic Policy Research Centre, said: “Water for production is one of the neglected areas in this country because experts think Uganda still has adequate rainfall.”

The Minister of Water and Environment, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, said in a speech read for him that development in agricultural has stagnated due to dependence on rainfall which has become unreliable.\

Key issues

Supported: Last week, Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, backed more than one million farmers who had signed a petition opposing proposed taxes on the agriculture inputs. .
Accused: The youth accuse government of exempting foreign investors to the disadvantage of nationals and the high taxes levied on infant businesses make them collapse prematurely.