Uganda, Israel deepen cooperation

Two countries aim to improve agriculture production in poor regions through irrigation

Uganda, Israel deepen cooperation


By Halima Athumani


 The Ugandan government has agreed to work with Israel to improve agriculture production particularly in the Karamoja region through irrigation.

The area is one of the poorest regions in Uganda, where families are also prone to poor nutrition and acute malnutrition is at critical levels across seven districts.

In September, Anadolu Agency reported that six people had succumbed to hunger weeks after the government failed to deliver food to affected families.

Karamoja is the only arid and semi-arid region with a single rainy season in Uganda, and thus suffers from the impact of climate change and environmental degradation, such as famine and hunger.

Details of a Thursday meeting between Uganda’s first lady and Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Museveni and new Israeli Ambassador to Uganda, Yahel Vilan, were released on Friday. Museveni said: “When we do irrigation, then we will finally have got a breakthrough with agriculture in Karamoja.”

Bilateral co-operation between Uganda and Israel currently encompasses agriculture, postharvest technologies, animal husbandry, water management, health and homeland security.

Israeli companies are also active in Uganda's infrastructural development and the services industry.

Repeated efforts by Anadolu Agency to establish from Uganda’s Nairobi embassy how much Israel invests in the country were unsuccessful.

In August 2013 Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, noted that the focus of business ties between Uganda and Israel were not only agricultural, but also involved arms sales.

This involved the supply of artillery and mortars, surveillance equipment and the upgrading of older fighter jets.

In addition, Israeli defense firms have trained Ugandan security forces in both Israel and Africa. Israel is also helping improve Uganda's health system.

In a visit to Israel in 2011 Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with talks focusing on agricultural inputs and military aid. 

Media reports indicated that in the meeting Uganda’s president expressed interest in purchasing drones and mortars. The Ugandan leader also wanted to arrange for more of his country’s air force planes to be upgraded.

An online arms trade database published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, shows that Uganda purchased arms from Israel in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2009.

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