By Spy Uganda
The Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has called for the revamping of the National Seed Company to curb counterfeit agricultural products on the market.
Chairperson Janet Okori Moe, who presented the committee report on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for Financial Year 2022/23, is cognizant of the high cost of agricultural inputs which she says has forced farmers to opt for counterfeit and low-quality inputs on the market.
“The rise in prices has extended to other inputs such as seeds, pesticides and machinery repairs, which has led some farmers to look for cheap counterfeit agricultural inputs that in turn reduced productivity from farms,” Okori Moe said.
The committee report which was adopted by the House this week recommended that government revamps the National Seed Company to ensure the provision of improved quality seeds and subsidized inputs to farmers throughout the country.
“This will ensure availability of quality, affordable seeds and subsidized inputs on the market,” the report read.
Similarly, the committee noted a number of challenges that currently affect the agro-processing industry that among others include; the high cost of operation as a result of the high cost of utilities like electricity and transport, an insufficient supply of inputs leading to industries operating below capacity.
The Auditor General’s Report 2019 shows that 70 percent of the established factories in Uganda are performing below capacity, thus raising the unit cost of production in the value addition process.
To overturn this, the committee wants government to focus the agro-industrialization budget on key commodities in the value chains and finance them appropriately to become competitive.
The committee also wants government through the agriculture ministry to channel more resources to support the already existing factories.
“Instead of establishing more agro-based industries yet some of the already established government industries are operating below capacity, the government should use the earmarked resources to support the existing factories to run under full capacity,” Okori Moe said.
She added: “Government should also consider the implementation of agriculture zoning such that agro-processors can benefit from the reduced cost of production due to increased forward and backward linkages between production centres and industries.”
According to the approved National Budget Framework Paper for 2022/23, the Agro-industrialisation Programme is projected to take Shs1.1 trillion, out of the national resource envelope of Shs45.trillion.