The problem of Uganda is not absence of money to boost agricultural production but shortage of reliable people to convey it to farmers, President Yoweri Museveni has said.
He argues that government injects a lot of money in agriculture but it is not put to good use. He disclosed this in his state of the nation address Thursday afternoon at Serena Conference hall in Kampala.
Museveni cited the National Agricultural Advisory Services-NAADs, which he said despite receiving huge sums of money had failed to bear results. He explained that government has been injecting up to 203 billion shillings in NAADS each year, but the larger part of the money is spent on salaries and organizing workshops. He disclosed that only 57 billion shillings would be used to purchase planting and breeding materials. Museveni said government was determined to restructure NAADS.
He explained that farmers in the countryside had woken up adding that, if they receive planting and breeding material, they handle it well. He said government carried out an experiment in war zones using the UPDF soldiers, which showed that a lot can be achieved in agriculture even with limited resources. Museveni said government handed UPDF 9 billion shillings, which they used to supply 11Million coffee seedlings, 2 million tea plants and 112 tons of maize and beans to farmers in the war zones.
The war zones include Bumbo in Manafwa district, Mayuge, Aweri, Namugongo, Migadde, Ruta, Ssemuto and Bukomero amongst others. Museveni however noted that Uganda was still performing poorly in agriculture because about 68 percent of the farmers are still trapped in substance farming.
Museveni listed the cost of farm inputs, low use of fertilizers, lack of skills and poor management of resources as some of the challenges facing agriculture. He said some of the farmers were still slow at converting their agricultural enterprises.