The Government of Uganda, with support from the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has launched a nine-year project to develop new varieties of vegetables, strengthen seed certification capacity and improve the technical skills of vegetable farmers. The Uganda Value Chain Capacity FOR KEY CROPS (VegeSeed project) was launched by the Hon Fred Bwiino (Minister of State for Agriculture) at NARO’s National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Namulonge.
Hon. Fred Bwiino applauded the Republic of Korea for its investment in the horticulture sub-sector, which provides income and nutrition for households and plays a key role in the national economy. He further said that horticulture presents a profitable enterprise model to be scaled up and scaled out even in the on-going government programs like the Parish Development Model. “The government of Uganda prioritized horticulture as an important commodity to increase household incomes, food and nutritional security,” he said.
In his remarks during the launch, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea – H.E Park Sung-soo – revealed that Korea has committed up to 8(eight) million US dollars towards the implementation of the project as part of their commitment to support Uganda towards a money economy, aligning with the third National Development Plan (NDP III) and Vision 2040. To address the agricultural productivity challenge in Uganda, this project leverages Korea’s comparative advantage in agricultural cooperation by sharing the knowledge and experience of Korea’s seed development and certification.
The Director General of NARO, Dr. Ambrose Agona, while addressing participants, echoed NARO’s commitment to strengthening horticultural research to address formidable challenges in the subsector, with a view in the future to increasing capacity and upgrading the horticultural research program to a stand-alone institute.
The VegeSeed project aligns with the goals set by the Government of Uganda as it consists of measures enshrined in the NDP III Program of Agro-Industrialization (AGI) to improve agriculture research, among which include rehabilitation of research infrastructure, capacity building of staff, strengthening of research standards, and increasing linkage amongst research institutions. The project will directly benefit 200 farmer households in the Parish Development Model as well as over 800 researchers.