Tuesday, April 23News That Matters

South Korea Pledges Continued Support to Uganda for Agricultural Research.

—The South Korean Agency for International Agricultural
Development has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Ugandan farmers in
transitioning from subsistence to modern farming practices. This assurance was conveyed
by Dr. Cho Ilho, the new Director of the Korea Partnership for Innovation of Agriculture
(KOPIA) Uganda, during a meeting with Dr. Yona Baguma, the Director General of the
National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), held at the NARO headquarters in
Entebbe on Wednesday.
Dr. Cho succeeds Dr. Park Taeson, whose tour of duty runs out after five years in
Uganda. Over the years, KOPIA has provided significant support to NARO, particularly
in enhancing various agricultural programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of
smallholder farmers. Over UGX 7.5 billion has been invested in the production of potato
seeds, citrus, rice, and local chicken utilizing advanced agricultural technologies
developed by NARO and Korean scientists.
In particular, farmers have received support in citrus production management and market
development through model villages in the Teso region. Initiatives such as the
distribution of NAROPOT 1, a high-yielding NARO potato variety, and improved local
chicken breeds have been implemented to boost household incomes.
Efforts have also been directed towards rice production interventions at the Doho rice
scheme for seed multiplication, leading to a significant increase in aromatic rice
production in Uganda. Farmers have been equipped with agronomic skills, resulting in a
rise in yields from an average of 3.1 to 4.1 tons per hectare. NARORICE-1, renowned for
its aroma, high yield, and early maturity, has become highly sought after, commanding a
better price and significantly contributing to increased productivity and farmers' incomes.
Dr. Baguma commended KOPIA for its infrastructure development projects at NARO
Zonal Agricultural Research Institutes in Mukono, Kawanda, Namulonge, and Luweero.
He commended KOPIA's collaborative planning approach, ensuring that implemented
programs are tailored to meet the needs of farmers.
He noted that South Korea’s transition of its farmers from subsistence to modern
agriculture was an experience Uganda was ready tap into in the quest to get farmers out
of poverty.

Highlighting the necessity of establishing a farmer's skilling center, Dr. Baguma pledged
to allocate space for its construction at one of the Zonal Agricultural Research Institutes.
Currently, NARO oversees sixteen Public Agricultural Research Institutes, including
seven National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) conducting research of national
strategic importance, and nine Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes
(ZARDIs) conducting adaptive research across Uganda's nine agro-ecological zones.