A team from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency is currently in Uganda on a terminal evaluation for the promotion of the rice development project phase 2. They will be visiting all the project implementation sites.
The JICA team was led by Dr. Shuichi Asanuma, who is the special advisor on Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to Dr. Asea Godfrey, Director of Research at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCORI), the last 4 years of the second phase of the project were at NaCRRI, Abi ZARDI, and Buginynaya ZARDI, and the main focus was on increasing productivity. And he hoped that the next phase would be focused on where rice can be grown without affecting the ecosystem. New technologies in wetland rice production. The meeting was informed that, at the regional level, other scientists have been bench-making in Uganda.
Dr. Yona Baguma, Director General of NARO, said in his remarks that he strongly feels obliged to extend thanks for a very good relationship with the technical team. He shared his experience that when phases 1 and 2 started, he was then Deputy Director General in charge of Research Coordination, and he coordinated the monitoring and evaluation within NARO. When they did the evaluation back then, their focus was on increasing productivity and improving agronomy, and he was glad that phase 2 of the project was delivered and created room for more opportunities for growth.
He then shared his experience of visiting Japan, where he realized Ugandans do not really know how to eat rice using different cuisine styles. Dr. Yona said he is interested to see a component of nutritional food with the goal of expanding our rice recipes. He also wants to see aspects of low-cost inputs like fertilizer, varieties of eco-friendly rice systems that grow without destroying the environment, and the interaction of rice and livestock. He pledged the continued support of NARO and promised to strengthen the transition of the benefits of phases 2 to 3.
Dr. Shuichi Asanuma said JICA’s focus is to give support to small farmers and high-quality rice at a high price, and he was glad about the vision for the project. The purpose of their visit to Uganda was to evaluate the tangible evaluation of phase 2 achievements based on the areas provided by the development aid. He informed the meeting that an interview survey so far conducted on technology dissemination is going very well for upland rice production. He agreed with the need to increase the productivity of upland rice and improve rice productivity through sustainable use of wetland systems, as it could contribute to boosting the productivity of rice in the country. He said that for the last 10 years of the program, a capacity of over 120.000 people has been built at various levels of education.
The next phase could be to further improve the dissemination of technologies and information while conserving the environment, and he informed the meeting that the evaluation report will be shared with NARO for comments and recommendations before the final version is printed.
Dr. Yona urged the designers of the next phase of the project to focus on ICT applications. He Prays for a strong component for ICT Applications with the purpose of upscaling the transfer and adoption of rice technologies by farmers. ‘We have a big agenda for human capacity, but our farmers cannot wait. He acknowledged the great capacity that has been built over time for masters and Ph.D. opportunities for NARO scientists and also pointed out the need for training resources placed on selected skilling and training components for non-scientists and specialized programs to deliberately train rice extension staff; otherwise, research will never have an impact. He also reiterated the need to keep Policymakers informed.