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Tumwebaze appoints team to assess agro-chemicals, animal products –

Tumwebaze appoints team to assess agro-chemicals, animal products

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Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze has appointed a committee of eminent persons with expertise in crop and animal fields to help study the entire policy framework on animal and crop drugs and inputs.

Tumwebaze said the ministry has a mission to transform the sector from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture and specifically under the National Development Plan III is the Program Technical Coordinator for the Agro Industrialization Program of the Government of Uganda. 

The Agro Industrialization Program has 6 key objectives that include; (i) Increasing agricultural Production and Productivity (ii) Improving Post Harvest Handling and storage of agricultural products (iii) Increasing Agroprocessing and value addition (iv) Increasing Market Access and Competitiveness of agricultural products in domestic and international markets (v) Increasing mobilization, access and utilization of agriculture finance and (vi) Strengthening institutional coordination for improved service delivery. 

In line with Government’s program to move more people into the money economy through increased agricultural production and productivity, the discussion on the efficacy of agrochemicals has taken centre stage in the public domain over the past few months. 

Whereas application of agrochemicals in agriculture has several benefits which range from yield increase of agricultural crops and soil fertility to pest management, crop protection and increased productivity in the livestock subsector, over the past decade, there have been growing concerns on the low levels of efficacy of some of the available agrochemicals and acaricides in Uganda. 

This prompts the question – what is the problem?  Is the problem the quality of drugs because of weak government regulation? (are fake drugs being dumped onto our market?). Is it poor application by farmers? or it’s an issue of disease resistance against the available drugs? Or is it a combination of some or all the above? We need to know and respond appropriately in a precise and concise manner.

“Based on this background and in response to the frequent outcry of farmers and other farming stake-holders regarding the quality and efficacy of animal and crop drugs and other inputs in the control and fight against diseases; I have decided,  after serious consideration and consultation, to appoint a committee of eminent persons with reasonable expertise (professionals and practitioners) in the crop and animal husbandries to assess the persistence of this problem, including the prevalent drivers and propose viable interventions towards the issues of quality and the regulatory frameworks of agro chemicals& agro-inputs,” he noted.

This team will be supported by a Secretariat at the Ministry who will include technical officers at the Ministry and relevant Agencies The Committee Composition is as follows:

The team

1             Prof.      John David Kabaasa        Chairperson       Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University and a visiting professor at a number of African and Western Universities

He is the founding Director of the Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA). 

He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Implementation of the Africa Union (AU) Strategic plan for Animal Resources Development. 

He chairs the National Biodiversity Committee for the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

He plays leading roles in a number of public and private partnerships that draw together commercial, governmental and academic interests in public as well as urban and rural economic development.

2             Dr. Eve Kasirye Alemu    Vice Chairperson             International Consultant, Standards, Quality Assurance & Food Safety.

She holds a PhD in Food Science and Technology; an MSc in Dairy and Food Science; and a BSc in Agriculture (specialty:

Animal Science). She is a founder member of Uganda National Bureau of Standards and was its first Executive Director.

She is also one of the founders of the East Africa Community Regional Harmonized Standards and Quality Assurance Programme.

She has extensive International training in areas of Standards and Quality Assurance, with teaching experience in Food Science at the University of Nairobi.  She also worked previously with Kenya Bureau of Standards on their technical committee on standards.

She served as Africa Regional Coordinator for CODEX International a global organization which formulates World Standards.

She was one of the founders of the School of Technology and Bio-engineering at Makerere University where she supervised several students to completer their research. 

She has served on various governing boards nationally, regionally and internationally including the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), the Agricultural Chemicals Board.

She has also previously served as Vice Chairperson of the Board of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.

3             Dr. Stevens Kisaka           Secretary Lecturer, Makerere University.

He holds a Master of Science, Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine. He is a Researcher, Decision Scientist and Project Management Professional at Makerere University. 

He has worked as a researcher on several projects including Vocationalization of Animal Sector Education Systems; African Natural Products Network; and Capacity Building in Integrated Management of Trans-boundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses. His research interests include Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 

He is serving as an editorial member and reviewer of several international scientific journals. He has authored of a number of research articles related to pharmaceuticals and the pharmaceutical industry. 

He has previously worked in the pharmaceutical sector and has vast experience in veterinary pharmaceutical supply chains in Uganda.

4             Dr. Jullian Omalla             Member Chief Executive Officer, Delight Uganda Limited.

She is one of Uganda’s top female entrepreneurs. She is founder, chairperson and managing director of Delight Uganda Limited. 

She has diversified into a range of other business activities, including egg and poultry farming, maize-feed production, a flour mill and bakery, as well as coordinating women’s farmer cooperatives. 

She is grounded in agriculture as a farmer, processor, business person and exporter. Her experience spans the entire agricultural value chain, from farm to the table.

5                            Mrs.       Beatrice

Byarugaba          Member Agriculture Consultant/Agronomist

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and an MSc in

Agriculture (specialty: technology of crop protection).

She previously worked at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry & Fisheries as the Director of Agricultural Extension Services. 

She has supported the formulation of the Agricultural

Extension Policy and Strategy and many guidelines to help its implementation.

 She also served as the Commissioner Crop Production where she supported the formulation of many policies and projects in the crop subsector and spear headed the enterprise selection exercise in the different AgroEcological zones.

She also previously served as a member of Board of Directors of Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), National

Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and National Enterprise Corporation (NEC).

 Prior joining the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries, she worked as the head of District Production and Marketing Department at Mbarara District Local Government where she spearheaded the transformation of farmers from Subsistence to Commercial Agriculture.

6             Dr. John Nuwagaba         Member              Chairman, Uganda Veterinary Board

He holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and a Master of Science. He previously worked as a Veterinary Officer in the then section of the Ministry of Animal Industry. 

He also worked as the General Manager of the Uganda Meat Packers under the Uganda Development Corporation. He is a highly experienced and long serving veterinary practitioner. 

7             Mr. Hudda Mahmood     Member              Chairman Technical Working Group on Agriculture under the Presidential Investors’ Round Table 6 as Chairman of Added Value.

Mahmood holds a B.Sc. in Neuroscience and an MSc in

Community Health. He is an integral member of the Hudda

Group of Companies and is currently the Managing Director of Mairye Estates. He is the Honorary Consular of Bangladesh in Uganda.  

He previously served as Non-Executive Director of Diamond

Trust Bank and in various leadership roles in the Aga Khan Foundation.

He oversees operations in multiple industries ranging from Agriculture (Floriculture/Horticulture), Manufacturing, Distribution, and Entertainment. 

As an entrepreneur in Uganda, he has started, successfully operated, and exited companies such as Uganda Meat Packers (Livestock Management) and Mairye Coffee Curing (Coffee Export). 

He has been the chairman of Presidential Investors’ Round Table 4 on the thematic area of Agriculture and a member on Presidential Investors’ Round Table 5 on competitiveness.   

8                            Mr.        Tayebwa

Rutamwebwa    Member              Chief Executive Officer, Mutungo Dairy Training Centre. He holds a BSc Economics, MBA (Finance), and Diploma in

Computer Science.

He is the Chief Executive Officer, Mutungo

Dairy Training Centre and also the Director of JUST Milk (Milk Processing Company). He previously worked as Principle

Revenue Officer and Head of the Planning Division at the Uganda Revenue Authority. 

He also served as the Board Member of the Church Commissioner Holding Company, serves as Council Member of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Chairman North Ankole Diocese Dairy Farms, Chairman and founder of RELINE farmers network.

9             Dr. Patrick Vudriko Member Makerere University. He holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Science and PhD.

He is a veterinary pharmacologist, researcher and lecturer at Makerere University. He Manages the Research Centre for Tropical Diseases & Vector Control, which is a leading center for tick acaricide resistance and interventions in Uganda.

He also a founding member of the Veterinary Drug & Agrochemical Safety Network (VEDSA Net) that strives to advocate for appropriate regulation and safe use of veterinary drugs and agrochemicals in Uganda & Africa at large. 

He is a member of teams that have developed essential veterinary medicines- lists; technical manuals for infection prevention and appropriate antimicrobial use.

 He represents the English speaking African countries on OIE technical working group on antiparasiticide resistance in addition to serving the World Veterinary Association as a member of the Strategic Focus Group on Pharmaceutical Stewardship.

10          Ms. Flora Kiconco Member Legal Counsel. She is a practicing lawyer with a Bachelor of Laws and Diploma in Legal Practice. She has vast experience on legal issues in the country.

11          Dr. Ben Ssekamatte         Member              Consultant

He holds a PhD in Crop Science and is a private Agro Research and Development Consultant supporting cotton companies across sub-Saharan Africa. 

He was the Deputy Field Operations Coordinator against the Desert Locust invasion in 2020. He previously worked for the USAID Agricultural Productivity Enhancement program (APEP); and Sustainable Agriculture programs of the German Development & Investment Bank, the GIZ and Aid by Trade Foundation. 

He also worked as an Entomologist with the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) where he spearheaded the promotion of and institutionalization of the Philosophy of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as a strategy for supporting judicious use of pesticides by smallholder farmers in the country but also by flower growing companies.

The Secretariat Team is as follows:

1             Dr. Peter Beine NAGRC& DB

2             Mr. Fred Mayanja            MAAIF

3             Ms. Charlotte Kemigyisha             Communication Support

The following are the specific terms of reference for the committee:

a)            Study and profile the various agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs and their various sources that are available on the market in Uganda.

b)            Study and profile the supply chain of agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs in Uganda with a view to establish existing gaps and loopholes in policy, regulatory frameworks and usage.

c)            Study and inquire into the forms of complaints and their probable root causes regarding the quality of agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs from the farmers and other stakeholders in the entire value chain.

d)            Study and review the appropriateness of the current Government policy, institutional mandates and regulatory frameworks for agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs 

e)            Make recommendations on the necessary reforms that Government needs to undertake in addressing the identified gaps in a sustainable manner. 

f)            Submitting the final report within 90 days; during this period of Lockdown, they will do desk research and review available relevant literature

On receipt of the final report, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) shall formulate a government white paper with clear policy and regulatory reforms that will help to address the identified gaps for Cabinet discussion and consideration.

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