NAADS signs MOU with Gulu Archdiocese to promote Commercialization of Cassava in Northern Uganda
Government through NAADS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gulu Archdiocese and eight District Local Governments to promote the commercialization of cassava in Northern Uganda. The MOU is intended to provide a framework for the implementation of the Cassava commercialization Project in Northern Uganda.
The project is aimed at contributing towards the economic transformation of Northern Uganda through improved cassava production and value addition for better livelihoods and increased household incomes of the people in Northern Uganda.
Since 2018, NAADS has been supporting farmers mobilised by the Archdiocese of Gulu with cassava planting materials under the Cassava commercialisation initiative. Cassava is one of the most important crops grown for both food and income. It produces the highest amount of starch per unit area relative to other crops and can be planted with many other crops. Cassava can grow under marginal environment conditions with limited external inputs. This makes it suitable for a wide category of farmers.
The delivery of planting materials has been through NAADS/OWC using the government of Uganda Procurement and Disposal modalities as provided in the PPDA regulations. Quality assurance if provided through pre inspection of materials by MAAIF crop certification department and verification of deliveries by district technical staff from the production department. To date deliveries have been as follows:
- In 2018/19 NAADS delivered 40,000 bags of cassava cuttings to the Pilot Area in Pader district for 2,500 farmers
- In 2019/20 NAADS/OWC provided 75,000 bags of cuttings to all 8 districts in Acholi sub region covering over 5,300 farmers
- In 2020/21 we were set to deliver 75,000 bags of cassava cuttings to cover 5 districts of Pader, Gulu, Nwoya, Lamwo and Omoro
Speaking during the ceremony to sign the MOU at Gulu Archdiocese headquarters, the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese John Baptist Odama said the church is committed to partner with the government of Uganda to deliver the people of Northern Uganda out of poverty through mass production and value addition to cassava.
Odama urged government to expedite the establishment of the cassava processing facility at Acholibur township, which is within the epicentre of the cassava commercialization project to provide a ready market for the cassava grown in the region.
The Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi said Government has so far injected Sh. 8 billion in the cassava commercialization project for the last three years which was spent on providing farmers with improved high yield and disease resistant planting materials.
Party to the project are the dioceses of Lira, Nebi and Arua and respective district local governments implementing the project. The MOU details the responsibilities of each party in the implementation of the cassava commercialization project. The MOU is cognizant of the financial and technical obligations of NAADS/OWC as a government agency, the roles MAAIF and local governments, as well as the opportunities for mass mobilization presented by the archdiocese.
While NAADS is committed in providing improved varieties, the diocese will continue to promote cooperatives at the chapel level of organization and to engage more farmers to participate in the supply of planting materials. So far over 30 cooperatives have been established in Pader, the epicentre of the project.
Bulking of production at the cooperative level is expected to harmonize the current price variation. Promoting contract farming and organized marketing through processors such as Bukona processing facility is expected to harmonize production and earnings from the cassava crop.