By Andrew Nakhaboya
Farmers in Bududa district have decried what they called the increase in the prices of seeds during the current planting season.
The prices of seeds, such as maize and beans, have shot up. A kilogramme of untreated maize seeds now costs sh4,000, up from sh2,000. A 2kg bag of treated maize seeds costs sh25,000, up from sh15,000. A kilogramme of non-treated bean seeds that used to cost sh1,600 now costs sh2,200.
Most agro-input dealers in the district have started stocking the seeds in anticipation of making huge profits as the planting season sets in.
Sadik Nanongo, a farmer from Bumasheti sub-county, said they may not plant this season because agro-inputs too are expensive compared to the previous seasons.
He said they expected the government to have given them Parish Development Model (PDM) funds by now, but that only a few people had received them.
Aisha Namono, another farmer, says they have now prepared gardens, but that they do not have seeds to plant.
Johnson Wanambwa, a farmer in Bududa, said some retailers were selling people expired seeds because of the high demand. He attributed the hiked prices to the promise of PDM funds and asked the Government to expedite the process of distributing the money, so that they can buy seeds to plant if they are to gain from agriculture.
Peter Wambewo, a dealer in maize and bean seeds in Bunamubi trading centre, said they have increased the prices of the seeds because their suppliers also deliver to them at high prices.
Wilson Swalikha, a farmer, said they may not plant this season given the high prices.
Peter Namondo, another farmer, asked government to regulate seed prices to ensure farmers plant food crops. He said if that is not done, then they could face food shortage as many people will not be able to afford the seeds.
Godfrey Bumesi said the Operation Wealth Creation programme used to distribute seeds, especially during the planting season. He said currently, they do not have money to buy seeds, given the high prices.
Felix Odong, the Bududa district production officer, blamed the Government for failing to standardise seed prices, leaving farmers at the mercy of traders. He said the government needs to regulate prices to end the exploitation of farmers.
Enock Makobi, the Bududa PDM focal person, asked farmers to open accounts so that they can access the funds to use in agriculture.