Alumni Spotlight: Promoting Sustainable Food Systems in Uganda- A World Food Day Special Edition

In the Pearl of Africa, a determined alumna of the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), Rachel Ajambo, is on a mission to revolutionize food systems and combat global hunger. As the world is celebrating World Food Day with the theme “Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind,” Rachel’s story serves as a testament to the power of education, collaboration, and commitment.

Rachel is the Team Leader at Kilimo Trust Uganda, where she provides technical and administrative leadership for various agricultural projects implemented by the trust. Her role is pivotal in driving change and shaping a brighter future for communities and sustainable agriculture.

Rachel’s journey with CALA broadened her perspective on value chain development and food system transformation. With newfound knowledge, she delved into the complexities of managing water for production, a topic deeply connected to this year’s World Food Day theme. She quickly grasped the significance of water in agriculture and food security, acknowledging that without water, we cannot produce food.

“In the business of building sustainable livelihoods and better communities, we must leave no one behind,” says Rachel. “This cannot be achieved without meaningful transformation of lives based on economic empowerment, all while ensuring that our actions preserve resources for future generations.”

Rachel’s impact extended far beyond words. Through her tireless efforts, she spearheaded initiatives promoting sustainable rice production in Uganda, focusing on water management practices such as intermittent watering of paddy fields. Her climate-resilient agroforestry program in the Albertine region adopted innovative technologies like hydrogels to enhance tree plantation survival under semi-arid conditions. These efforts helped to build climate change resilience among smallholder farmers while increasing household incomes.

One of Rachel’s flagship projects, the Karamoja Regenerative Agriculture and Market Systems, incorporated climate change adaptation through agroforestry, adding to her portfolio of the soybean and sorghum value chain development. Another initiative, “Grow A Tree Everywhere,” saw trees being planted in Buliisa and Nwoya districts, both in the semi-arid regions of the Albertine area. These projects worked in harmony to build climate change resilience at the grassroots level.

In a remarkable demonstration of her dedication to sustainable agriculture, Rachel played a pivotal role in spearheading the promotion of improved rice variety cultivation among farmers as part of the Competitive African Rice Initiative. This three-year project, implemented across Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania led to a remarkable transformation, with farmer yields increasing from 1.5 metric tons per hectare to an impressive 3.6 metric tons per hectare, a testament to the immense positive impact her dedication and leadership had on local communities.

Rachel’s journey underscores the vital role of water in food production and highlights the pressing need to protect available water resources sustainably for future generations. She encourages current and future CALA participants to break down silos and work collectively, for she believes that the most enduring solutions arise from pooling resources and minds. Her story is a testament to the power of unity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to shaping a better future.

Reflecting on her achievements, Rachel attributes her remarkable successes to the transformative experience of CALA’s Advanced Leadership Programme. The Centre is spearheaded by AGRA in collaboration with the African Management Institute (AMI), serving as CALA’s lead implementer and learning partner. This partnership brings together the expertise and resources necessary to empower leaders like Rachel to shape a better future for Africa’s agricultural landscape and food security.

Rachel’s journey stands as a resounding affirmation of what can be achieved when passionate individuals come together, guided by knowledge and driven by a shared purpose. On this World Food Day, we celebrate Rachel Ajambo and all those who, like her, are dedicated to nourishing our planet, one innovative solution at a time.

About AGRA

Founded in 2006, AGRA, is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze agriculture transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

For more information visit:

About AMI

AMI enables ambitious businesses and leaders across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training. We equip leaders with tools to build their business, help companies train their teams and run work readiness programmes for young people starting their careers. AMI’s programmes combine online and mobile tools with in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support. AMI has directly trained over 35,000 people in over 39 countries. AMI has offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Kigali, Rwanda, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

For more information on AMI visit:

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