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Thursday, January 31, 2013

KABAROLE HOLDS FIRST REGIONAL PLANT CLINIC AWARENESS

   In abid to create awareness about plant clinic in Uganda plantwise in collaboration with centre for Agriculture and Biosciences international (CABI UK) organized a one day sensitization workshop at lesuiex centre  kabarole district about improving food security  and the lives of the small farmers in Uganda.
It was also aimed at bringing together science organizations, Agricultural ministries, civil society organizations and extension providers to help them develop sustainable national plant health systems where community based plant clinics provide practical advice to small holder farmers when they need it.
Plantwise supports local extension providers to establish and run plant clinic as farmers bring their diseased plants for diagnosis and given good advice from experts commonly known as ‘ plant doctors’ and this has helped farmers lose less of their crops, get more yields, incomes and increasing food security

It was noticed that about 10-20% in average crop losses in Uganda during pre-harvest is high and 20-30% during the post harvest period due to crop pests and diseases .
District officials who attended the workshop were advise by phil Taylor of CABI UK to integrate plant clinic programmes with those of national agriculture advisory services (NAADS)  so that it should not look as an independent project to farmers in total nine districts across the region were presented which include among others kasese, kabarole, ntoroko, bundibugyo, kamwenge, kyenjojo, kyegewa,  buikwe, mukono, hoima and Ntungomo.
According to plant wise Uganda twenty three plant clinics have been established with the help of their implementing partners like ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries(MAAIF), Rwenzori information centres networks (RIC-NET),Local government, makerere university, national agriculture resaech organization (NARO), caritas this year  the ministry of agriculture and partners  hope to establish more clinics in other parts of the country and build capacity to run them especially during market days and on routine basis so that farmers needs are addressed

Despite of plant clinics gaining coverage with  farmers in Uganda, it has been faced with number  of challenges like plant doctors not having inadequate skills to handle different plant species, basic equipments like lenses, knives, torch, reference materials like photo sheets to use, insuffient funds to facilitate the activity, lack of technical back stopping like of NARO, lack of feedback from National laboratories and also many people mistake plant doctors to herbalists because they deal with diseased samples of plants which farmers bring for diagnosis and farmers questions the type of clinic plant doctors use without medicine apart from giving them advices.
Joseph mulema of CABI Africa said there is need to increase plant clinic coverage in every agricultural area in this country since farmers have liked the initiative

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

KABAROLE DISTRICT HOLDS BUDGET CONFERENCE



The District Budget conference as planned was held at kalya courts Fort-portal yesterday on 22nd January 2013, by   9:00am when I reported at the venue, majority of participants who were councilors, District staff, CSOs representatives and Lower Local Government staff had finalized with their breakfast and ready to participate in the conference. As the District chairperson Hon. Richard Rwabuhinga, opened the meeting noted that the 2013 budget is aimed at improving service delivery and enhancement of household incomes, he remarked that among  the priorities for Kabarole this  year is completion of the District headquarters and construction of the Buhinga  stadium. the stadium was viewed as a source of local revenue I learnt from him the challenges accruing from decentralization where the District encounters delays in quarterly release of funds, while quoting the case of last year “the central Government deposited 144m on the District account on 30th June” how were they expecting the District to spend   that money  in 4 hours? in such cases the funds have been returned to the central Government,  He also noted that the funds of Luweero-Rwenzori had not been received and yet the beneficiaries were eagerly waiting, In a nutshell he called upon the ministry of Finance ,planning and economic development to address those gaps so that the citizens can enjoy better services. the District Chairperson also informed the participants that they were in high resource mobilization gears to address the challenge  of  high HIV/AIDS  prevalence  in the District. He appreciated the growing partnership with the NGOs  in the past year  which contributed to better information sharing,  however  urged  NGOs  to   maintain that spirit.
Interesting to learn was the plant clinic project of  which the District production and marketing officer, Mr Mugume Amos reported that  three plant doctors  had been  trained and deployed (Mrs Grace kyomya, Gerry Balikuraira and veronica kabanyoro) in the Rwaihamba, Mugusu and kasunganyanja markets to assist in early detection of plant diseases and offering  on spot   technical advice to farmers .  with over three years in  plant clinics  RIC-NET  has adequate expertise to train  and build the capacity of new  plant Doctors alongside the District. We look forward to more partnership with the Local Government in 2013.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reflecting on the progress and future yields

The one day reflection meeting that was held at St.Josephs virika conference hall on 10th January 2013 became fruitful after a number of issues were reflected upon and way forward drawn.
The meeting was attended by the RIC-NET board of directors, partners represented by the District Information officers of Kasese and Kamwenge, RIC-NET staff and information centre’s representatives.
In his opening remarks the Executive Director RIC-NET  Welcomed all participants in the new year 2013 and noted that the reflection would among other things discuss last year’s full report (2012).
He also said that among the things that were agreed upon last year in the reflection meeting, some of them were not yet implimented like use of official e-mails. “There is still a gap in communication because some people claim that they do not receive communication from RIC-NET yet the communication was passed via e-mails”.
He also noted that we need to focus on the sustainability of our centers in terms of promoting ideals incase the leaders are out of service. It will only be done when strong membership is there and skills imparted in different staff for continuity.” If the center is just a name, it’s nothing; it should cause an impact in the lives of people especially in terms of service provision” he continued. He also posed a question how far we were in touch with board and community members and that we should work towards answering the needs of our people to touch their hearts during implementation.

He also said that the most important thing is to know who we are serving so  that the interest can be captured in RIC-NET strategic plan and for the sustainability of the centers. “We need to engage people by appearing to them on how to generate their local income in terms of finance” he added.
He wished all members a fruitful reflection meeting.
The program manager later went ahead to give highlights of the 2012 activities in various projects that RIC-NET implemented.
RWECO HIVOS.
 Among the activities was to set up and operationalise six  E-society centers at different district local governments and  two e-society centers were set up and launched and more three are still pending (Ntoroko, kyenjojoj and kyegewa) to be set up this year 2013.it was noted that Kabarole too was set up some time back in 2011.  The realized output is that there is increased access of internet at centers and also computer literacy increasing amongst the community.
Another activity implemented was bulk sms which has been active in sharing messages on agriculture or epidemic outbreaks
3 Trainings in \ICT applications and maintainance of equipments have been held with district officials.  She encouraged centers to activate their blog pages.
Corporate shirts and e-society flyers as well as banners were developed which has increased visisbity.
D.I.O Kasese District giving his input during the reflection 

EU- HIvos
Domain name procurement and activation and design of district websites to facilitate easy access of information by community members around those districts and elsewhere in the world.  The challenge is that the districts delay in respons.
Uganda community library  project.
The project is hosted at BRIC one of RIC-NETs information centres.
Smart phones were procured to ease sharing and accessing agricultural information with farmers directly especially plant doctors and farmers.
Procured books in agriculture, gender and how they can do better farming.
Computer for schools.
Stake holders meetings was held at verina gardens  and they agreed and committed themselves to support the project.
A training of all English teachers from the benefiting schools in the two districts also held.
Plant clinic
Very vital to our farmers since it was a result oriented project. RIC-NET has been running it on local funds from within the organisation. It is also in partnership with plant wise UK.
Plant doctors have been participating in different events like market symposiums held at Kisinga and civil society fair in bundubugyo.
Citizen manifesto project
Which was about documenting partners’ activities  and 11 videos were documented in the Rwenzori and international. Neigbourhood assembly and citizen manifesto days were documented.
A number of issues were discussed in this meeting where information centres also shared their activities they’ve been doing throughout the year 2012 and among some action points agreed upon were;
Success stories about activities implemented be put online and shared with different stake holders through proper documentation
Apart from annual report, success stories should be documented properly to ensure that there is proper accountability and evidence of what has been done. Let every staff implementing an activity indicate the output of what was done as line of expenditure both from information centers , e-society centers and RIC-NET

Producing a testimonial magazine with success stories only both in written and video form.
Feedback should also be got from target beneficiaries on these services we render to them.
Having core programme areas in our strategic plan in terms of implementation and existing donors.
Several resolutions were reached at the reflection was concluded by a board meeting that later sat in the evening to plan for the organization.