Farmers are demanding for special financial facility to boost agriculture sector. Speaking at this years joint agricultural sector annual review meeting under the theme: Sustainable Agro industrialization for wealth creation in Kampala, they argued that financial credit given to farmers by commercial banks is expensive and the terms are unfriendly to farmers.
“There is still a limit in financing agricultural value chain. Commercial banks, microfinance institutions and Saccos have shifted to commercial financing with lending rate at 12%. This is typically unfavorable to farmers,” Uganda National Farmers Federation boss Kenneth Katungi said.
UNFFE is the the umbrella farmers association that brings together 118 farmers organization. Its membership is about 3 million farmers mainly small holder farmers.
Katungi however stressed that for Uganda to realize sustainable Agro industrialization for wealth creation, government has to quickly move to implement new national development plan iii. He says it’s very clear on the road map for Agro industrialization.
The challenges farmers faced;
“The road to Agro industrialization is facing a number of issues such as low productivity, low levels of value addition, low market competitiveness and penetration of our agricultural products,” Katungi said.
“We also have limited public funding for agricultural research for priority commodities. According to agricultural sector public expenditure review published by World Bank September 2019. Expenditure on research had increased to 17% in 2013/14. It reduced to 11%in 2017/18, “he added.
James Agona Director General National Agricultural Research Organization additionally noted that aligning agricultural research to national priority would spur sustainable Agro industrialization for wealth creation.
“Naros prayer is that government commits sh 1.178 trillion in the next five years to roll out and comprehensively implement it’s strategic plan to spur Agro industrialization in Uganda,” Agona said.
According to the science agenda for agricultural transformation in Africa each government must commit at least her 1% gross development product to science and innovation to accelerate Agro industrialization.
Agona however cautioned private sector to invest in agricultural research and development. He says government on the other hand should build essential infrastructure for research, skilling and technology incubation.
He recommended establishment of technology exhibition hubs and setting of model technology industrial parks. These will act as catalysts to transiting Agro-industrialization for inclusive wealth creation.
What the Agriculture minister says;
Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja said MAAIF is committed to address the issues that among others included; mobilizing and supporting small scale farmers along the four-acre model concept, increasing exports of specific commodities, supporting individuals and companies for seed production, planting and breeding materials.
“My Ministry will invest in promoting the use of fertilizers, and also appropriate irrigation technology to beat climate change challenges. Agriculture mechanization, research and pest/disease control, regulation and surveillance, value addition and revival of the fish industry,”Ssempijja said.
However, the Minister assured the Country that MAAIF is on course. He added that, to properly realize this, every Ugandan has to support this cause and cooperation. The government must address inadequate funding of the sector to realize increased food production in the country.
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