Small scale farmers in Uganda shows concern over the new budget
• Call for seriousness to increase government spending into the sector
• Appreciates the government’s move to reform the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADs).
Small scale farmers in Uganda are not happy that the government of Uganda had chosen to increase taxation on water, kerosene and motorcycle licences.
They say these are some of the most basic items used in rural areas.
Beatrice Twayaga of the network of small scale farmers in Uganda (ESAFF Uganda) says that farmers hopes that the government would instead reduce taxation on all of these so as to enable farmers acquire more lighting with kerosene and accessible transportation and water.
Small scale farmer said that after the watching the national budget for 2013/14 in Mayuge and Kabale Districts. In their analysis small scale farmers noticed that the government has not shown any proof that is willing to increase the budget for the agriculture sector to 10 percent as per the Maputo declaration. The Uganda’s agricultural growth rate is still below the 6% annual growth target of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).
In the same development, small scale farmers appreciated the government’s move to reform the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADs) to create a single spine Extension system aligned to the relevant Directorates in the Ministry of Agriculture. Farmers sighted that it may improve on the performance of NAADS.
Ugandan small scale farmers disagreed with the Minister saying that the sector employs only about 66 per cent of Uganda’s total labour force, as the vast majority of the population are in agriculture.
The proportion should have therefore been more than 66% of the population.
They lamented that the government trend to consider agriculture as a fully private sector activity would be a big threat to the sector, when it comes to regulations on seed, land and issues related to climate change.
Adem Andrew, a project officer with ESAFF Uganda says, small scale farmers questioned the government’s plan of multiplication of improved seeds which they think may be a good entry to for GMO seeds. He says, "With the government requesting parliament to quickly pass the biotechnology and bio-safety bill which is currently on the floor of parliament.. He added that “Much as the move to improve seed and control pests and diseases was welcome. The move to vest seed multiplication with research institutions, the police and prisons was not welcomed".
The farmers felt the responsibility to multiply seed should have to the model farmers who are nearer to their fellow small scale farmers as this would also have helped the farmers to earn some income than vesting it with police which transfers the profitability of the venture to the already well to do officers in these forces and centres who are not necessarily small scale farmers, said Mr. Adem Andrew.
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