Government amends MOU with IRCU to strengthen collaboration
The government of Uganda through the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has amended the five-year memorandum of understanding it signed with the Inter Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) to strengthen their relationship, especially regarding the release of funds.
This was revealed by the Executive Director of NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi during the signing ceremony of an addendum to the memorandum of Understanding between NAADS and IRCU that took place at NAADS Secretariat on Friday, February 18th, 2022.
NAADS and IRCU are implementing a five-year MOU to fight food insecurity and poverty among the believers through promoting farming as a business. This initiative is based on the desire by IRCU to support the Government in achieving its Agro-industrialization drive through, among others, addressing mindset change, spirituality, and low agriculture production.
The main objective of the MOU is to contribute to Household Economic Empowerment through promotion of Agro-Industrialization, Community mobilization, mindset change, value chain development, and food security
According to Dr. Mugasi, Government through NAADS has released UGX 2bn in the current financial year 2021/22 to support agriculture projects implemented by the Church of Uganda and is set to release an additional UGX 2bn to the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) in the next financial year 2022/23 to support agriculture projects and mindset change programs through the religious institutions.
The two institutions have been the MOU for the past two years and a lot has been achieved.
“In the past two years of implementing our MOU, we have supported the members of IRCU with dairy cows, goats, pigs and planting materials. We supported them to set up a water system for irrigation at their demonstration farm in Mukono and procured 2 vehicles for them to use in the mobilization of farmers”, explained Dr. Mugasi
Mugasi said they have a similar arrangement with the Church of Uganda which is also a member of the IRCU and in their MOU, NAADS has supported the Church with 10 tractors, dairy cows, and seedlings (mangoes, apples, citrus) which have been distributed to farmers across the different dioceses in the country.
Speaking about the addendum to the MOU with IRCU, Dr. Mugasi explained that some changes have been in the MOU to further strengthen the relationship between NAADS and IRCU especially regarding release of funds.
“The addendum to the MOU will ease the release of funds to make sure that the workplans are executed in time and more efficiently. With the changes we have made, the IRCU will be able to access funds through NAADS for procurement of agricultural inputs and other services”, said Dr. Mugasi
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda who is also the current Chairperson of IRCU Dr. Steven Kazimba Mugalu appreciated NAADS for the collaboration to offer agricultural inputs saying the support has helped the religious institutions to address the challenge of food insecurity among the faithful and ultimately convert the people’s heads, hearts, and hands.
“We are very grateful to Government and NAADS in particular for the support they have extended to us which has made our work as preachers of the word of God much easier. It is hard to preach to a hungry person because a hungry man is an angry one”, said Dr. Kazimba.
He added that part of the UGX 2bn extended to Church of Uganda will help them to procure additional 27 tractors to cover all the dioceses across the country.
Government took a step to work with religious institutions because of their wide network across the country which can help to reach out to different categories of farmers. Government is leveraging on their network and their grassroots approach to be able to reach out to farmers in different parts of the country
“Religious leaders have a huge role to play in mobilizing Ugandans to engage in farming as a business. In fact, they have been recognized in the NDP111 as having a role to play especially the pillar of mindset change and the National Planning Authority is already engaging IRCU to help Government in ensuring a change in the mindset of Ugandans towards agriculture”, explained Dr. Mugasi
The Secretary General of the IRCU Joshua Kitakule said the UXG 2bn for IRCU will help them to complete the mindset change centre which is currently under construction and to implement agriculture projects in Eastern and Northern Uganda.