It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this first national workshop on Policies for Improved Land Management in Uganda. We at Makerere University, and the faculty of agriculture in particular, are proud to co-sponsor this workshop because it is a very significant step towards eradicating poverty in Uganda, through improved land management and agricultural productivity. I wish to congratulate our partners IFPRI, the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), the Agricultural Policy Secretariat (APSEC) and the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn (ZEF) for this significant achievement. Two and a half years ago, we gathered in this same place to plan for policy research aimed at helping policy makers identify and assess policy, institutional and technological strategies for improving land management and reducing poverty without jeopardizing the natural resource base. To date, most of the field activities that the project planned to undertake have been completed (such as the characterization survey, community survey, and market surveys), or are about to be completed (household and plot surveys). I am glad to report to you that we are gathered here today to receive and discuss the preliminary findings of the completed surveys. I must emphasize that these are preliminary findings and should not be interpreted as conclusive final findings, but rather are intended to stimulate discussion and pave the way forward for the remaining period of this project. I, therefore, call upon you to listen attentively and actively participate in the discussions. In addition to the completed field activities, the project has made significant progress in capacity strengthening by involving local collaborators in research design, implementation and analysis; and two Ugandan scholars are receiving Ph.D. training at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn (ZEF) through the project. Increased awareness of the project and its objectives has been achieved among policy makers through the project advisory committee, to which Professor Sabiiti is the Chairman. This is a very significant achievement and although it is still early for the project to impact on policy making, it certainly has the attention of key policy makers, and the foundation has been laid upon which future impact will be achieved. There is still more to be done in terms of data collection, analysis and report writing. Your input is critical in identifying key areas for the project to contribute to informing policy making on the best approach for addressing the problems of land degradation, low agricultural productivity, and poverty in Uganda. I wish you fruitful deliberations during this workshop. Thank you very much.


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