Subsidise Cost Of Seeds To Farmers – CSOs Task Gov’t

Subsidise Cost Of Seeds To Farmers – CSOs Task Gov’t an accessible web community

By Spy Uganda

Members of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have urged Government to subsidise the cost of seeds to farmers if the country is to avert the looming food insecurity in the near future.

This was during their meeting with the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on their position on agro-industrialisation programme in response to the Ministerial Policy Statement for Financial Year 2023/2024 held on Thursday, 06 April 2023.

Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance and the leader of the delegation, said that despite the current rains, farmers are not adequately planting because of the high cost of agricultural inputs.

“Many farmers are unable to partake in the planting season because they cannot afford the cost of seeds. So if the farmers are not adequately planting then we are going to have shortfalls in food supplies in the coming season,” Kirabo said.

She said the rise in seed costs comes as a consequence of the policy shift by government to stop distributing seedlings to farmers in the advent of the Parish Development Model, which saw all the funds redirected to the programme.

Kirabo said that currently, one kilogram of maize seeds is ranging between Shs10,000 and Shs15,000 while that of beans has hit Shs30,000, which most farmers cannot afford.

Hon. Christine Akello (NRM, Erute North) called for protection of farmers from substandard seeds on the market, while Hon. John Baptist Lokii (NRM, Matheniko County) said the battle on agriculture was lost when the quality of products was compromised.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Janet Okori-Moe, blamed food insecurity in the country on what she referred to as ad hoc planning by government with no sustainable solution.

“As a committee and parliament generally, we are tired of ad hoc methods. When you hear that people are starving that is when you rush to bring supplementary budgets to solve the problem. We need a strategic plan to help farmers,” Okori-Moe said.

In their report, CSOs also decried insufficient finances allocated for agro-industrialisation programme in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries for the next financial year. Among the critical areas that CSOs want sufficiently funded are; small-scale irrigation schemes, coffee sector, and disease control.

The ministerial policy statement for Financial Year 2023/2024 shows that the ministry has been allocated Shs524.8 billion for the entire agro-industrialisation programme. an accessible web community

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