The Forum on Development of Agro-Food Industries in OIC Member States was held in Kampala, Republic of Uganda, on 11-12 October 2011. A total of 250 participants attended the Forum, comprising delegates from 22 OIC member countries, 4 OIC institutions as well as FAO and representatives of private sector, civil societies and community-based establishments. The forum was chaired by H.E. Mr. Tress Buchanayandi, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of the Republic of Uganda. Dr. Kenan Bagci, researcher at SESRIC, represented the Centre at the Forum and made a presentation on “The State of Agro-food Industries in the OIC Countries: Prospects and Challenges”.
In his address of the forum, delivered by Amb. Hameed A. Opeloyeru, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs, the OIC General Secretariat, urged participants at the forum to take into account the on-going OIC activities in support of agricultural financing and development of strategic agricultural commodities and recommended the creation of an appropriate mechanism that can promote partnerships between the public and private sector operators, community-based groups, research centres and institutions.
H.E. Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives of the Republic of Uganda delivered a key note address on behalf of H.E. Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda to the Forum. In this address, H.E. the President of Uganda invited participants’ attention to the enormous challenges facing Uganda, Africa and OIC countries in the agricultural sector, while enumerating the series of national, regional and continental initiatives deployed to address the identified constraints, including land and water management, infrastructure and market access, increasing food supply, and improving agricultural research and technological acquisition.
During the first panel discussion on “Best practices for strengthening farmer-market linkages, post-harvest handling and value addition”, chaired by Dr. Kisamba Mugerewa, Chairman of National Planning Authority of Uganda, the forum considered presentations by Ms. Stephanie Gallatova (representative of FAO Regional Office in Ghana), Dr. Kenan Bagci (researcher at SESRIC), Mr. Mahmood Ahmed (FAO consultant), Prof. Charles Kwesiga (Executive Director of Uganda Industrial Research Institute) and Ms. Barbara Huddleston (FAO consultant). During the second panel discussion on “Agro-industries: Access to finance”, the forum similarly listened presentations from the representatives of private sector, academia as well as Islamic Development Bank.
After presentations and exhaustive interventions by participants, the Forum adopted recommendations related to the development of agro-food processing sector in the OIC countries. The forum also requested the OIC Secretary General to give effect to these recommendations within the on-going elaboration of the OIC Executive Framework for Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Security.