The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) launched an online portal that will boost access to information on biocontrol products and help fight the use of substandard inputs.
The portal, which was launched by Pius Wakabi Kasajja, the permanent secretary of the MAAIF at the ministry headquarters in Entebbe, makes Uganda the third country in Africa and 13th in the world to roll it out.
It is an initiative spearheaded by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) to help stakeholders in the farming sector identify, source, and correctly apply biocontrol products for specific crop pests and diseases.
"CABI improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment. The use of the portal is to avail electronic access to information about biopesticides available in the country to farmers," the ministry said in a March 7 statement.
"Biopesticides are natural pest control solutions that are available in the environment, for example, insects, fungi, bacteria and other organisms".
It's been observed worldwide that some pesticides used in farming are hazardous to human health and the environment.
The portal was created to help farmers shift from dangerous chemical pesticides to safer biopesticides that meet market or export standards, satisfy consumer demands for healthier and safer food and reduce pressures on the environment.
The permanent secretary says the proliferation of substandard inputs such as pest control products and fertilizers continues to deter farmers from moving from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
“There have been occasions in the past where the use of sub-standard products has resulted in the interception of our fresh produce exports hence rendering them less competitive in the global market,” he said.
“It is in the backdrop of these challenges that innovations like the CABI BioProtection portal can play a role in sensitizing farmers and all other key players in the sector with the right information on where to source high quality, effective yet less hazardous crop protection products.”
The portal can be accessed via this link.
After landing on the website, a farmer will type any question about a pesticide and the system will provide vital information on biocontrol and bio pesticide products that are authorised by MAAIF for that specific search. MAAIF will further provide a list of registered pesticides and from partner biocontrol manufacturers.