?The government investments should be directed towards the areas of road construction, irrigation and agro-processing systems,? said Susan Minae, the Food and Agriculture Organisation?s (FAO) representative in Ethiopia.
She was speaking during a planning meeting for EA countries at Speke Resort Munyoyo recently.
Minae said the responsibility of FAO is to promote food and nutritional security, hence the meeting that was aimed at sharing measures that have worked in other countries.
?We do not want to keep giving food aid and supporting these countries. We want people to be self-sufficient and even produce for the market,? she said.
She said apart from increasing production, infrastructure development will speed up the growth of agro-industries, which will in turn lead to the production of food for both domestic consumption and sale.
?When the industries grow and there is enough food for processing, they will lead to the development of interregional trade,? Minae said.
FAO is currently working with small-holder farmers with the capacity to produce food not only for the organisation, but also for the market.
?We are helping them (small-holder farmers) in the areas of value addition. This will continue to be one of the focus areas for FAO in the sub region,? she said.
FAO country representative to Uganda, Haji Ahmed Jallow, said they had so far worked with farmer groups in south western Uganda to add value to their dairy products, honey and Irish potatoes.
?We have trained these farmers and also helped them acquire fridges and coolers, for their milk. The prices have consequently increased from sh200 a litre to sh700,? Jallow said.
He said in Kasese, they worked with farmers to add value to fruits such as mangoes and pineapples; and in northern Uganda, they have just concluded the Agriculture Livelihood programme for returnees. The organisation is now implementing a follow up programme on resilience to climate change.
?This programme is mainly targeting districts in the cattle corridor to help them understand the effects of climate change on their livelihoods and how they can learn to adjust so they are not affected a lot,? Jallow said.
By Prossy Nandudu, The New Vision