Agroecology promotes the use of organic materials such as animal manure, plant residues, digging up water channels in farms, integrating trees and minimal use of agrochemicals in farming
Mulching is another practice under agroecology that should be practiced by farmers as an official from NARO's Bulindi ZARDI explains
Farmers have been advised to look out for new farming systems that will help them cope with the changing weather and reducing soil fertility so as to remain in the production of crops.
One of the new farming systems is agroecology, a practice that promotes the use of organic materials such as animal manure, plant residues, digging up water channels in farms, integrating trees and minimal use of agrochemicals in farming.
The call was made by a professor of agroecology at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi, Prof. Julius Mwiine, during the first agroecology symposium that took place recently at Silver Springs Hotel, in Kampala.
“Some trees store water which is released during the dry season, giving plants enough water to take them through the next rainy season, residues such as maize stalks when cut and left in the garden, prevent direct heat from accessing the soils, while animal and poultry manure easily mixes up with the soils compared to artificial other agrochemicals,” he said.
Water channels in banana plantations help in storing water
Mwiine said in the end, a farmer harvests healthy plants with less or no agrochemicals at the same time conserving the soils for future use.
The symposium was organised by the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda with support from Oxfam, ESAFF among other actors under the theme; Advancing Multi-Stakeholder Responsiveness Towards Scaling-up of agroecology in Uganda.
Stella Lutalo, the country coordinator of PELUM Uganda, said the symposium was aimed at creating awareness among smallholder farmers to understand the challenges failing them from growing more food for food security and increased household incomes due to unsustainable farming practices.
She added that the agroecology farming system encourages sustainable use of natural resources, where the long-term production is guaranteed and ecosystems are conserved.
“It addresses key issues of soil infertility, issues of food and nutrition, health, use of organic options such as fertilisers and pesticides, integrated crop pest and disease management so it ensures healthy foods for the people and a healthy environment,” Lutalo said during the symposium.