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New report wants abolition of free agricultural inputs to farmers

Gulu Municipality Mayor, George Labeja(in red right) and coordinator operation wealth creation Acholi sub region, Col. Francis (in combat) seeing maize plant affected by fall army worm.

A new report by the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has made recommendations to government to abolition the system of giving free inputs to farmers but instead subsidise them so that can attach value to what they have contributed to.

“Free inputs to farmers should completely be discouraged if we are to have transformation of agriculture in this country. We have discovered that farmers will only attach value to something they have contributed to,” said Lowila Otekao, the Committee chairperson while presenting the report to Parliament.

The report that aimed at evaluating the performance of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) also pinned officials of the programme whom they accused of distributing farm inputs late and failing to mobilizing farmers to pick seedlings in time for planting.

“Some of the inputs are substandard and officials also have the habit of dumbing unrequested planting materials in some districts. This is done to conceal their unclear procurement deals,” Otekao said.

The report further accuses OWC officials of supplying seedlings which take long to mature yet the farmers want quick growing planting materials to fight hunger which is mostly caused by climate change.

“We also noted that the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has a lot of bureaucracy in procurement system for the inputs since OWC was not given this role, and therefore, we recommend that the procurement process be localized for a proper seed stock,” the report reads in part.

A farmer of citrus fruits

The report also indicated that OWC is not responded to by some people in communities who believe that the project should not have been handled by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) officers whom they say lack the technical skills required for agriculturalists who can offer technical guidance at the time of supplying.

It also recommended that government punishes suppliers who deliver poor quality inputs.

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