By Prossy Nandudu
The Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze, has asked development partners to channel funds directly into value chains.
“The move will ensure the effective use of resources to manage challenges such as inadequate agriculture machinery, post-harvest management, and secure quality inputs on time among others,” he added.
Tumwebaze made the remarks on Tuesday last week while receiving a donation of 100 motorcycles and 73 tablets from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) worth $250,000.
The donation will increase access and use of quality seed by the farming communities.
Tumwabaze called upon other donors to equip those they train with tools like AGRA has done, adding that it creates more impact.
He explained that currently, the ministry is implementing the Agro Industrialization strategy in which seed for both plants and livestock has been identified as the most important input that forms the basis for increased production and productivity.
“That is why we shall be part of the AGRA not for just grants, but to work with you in other areas like research for both crop and livestock so that together we can achieve the green revolution,” Tumwebaze added.
He added that the seed sector is currently constrained by a lack of awareness of the existing regulatory framework, unethical conduct among seed sector players, and inadequate mechanisms for tracking seed quality among others.
In addition, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Rt Maj. Gen David Kasura Kyomukama, said that despite the increase in the number of seed companies to 35 today, challenges of inadequate seed coupled with counterfeits on the market have persisted.
“I am aware of AGRA’s long-term contribution to the seed industry, which started with the training of seed breeders, building the capacity of private seed companies and now a grant to support the regulatory processes for farmers to access quality so the ministry is thankful to the AGRA,” Kyomukama added.
While handing over the equipment the AGRA country manager, Dr John Jagwe said the access and use of quality will transform the smallholder farmer from subsistence to commercial farming, hence the support to the strengthening of seed systems in Uganda.
He added that the donation is part of the sh1.3b grant that was given to the ministry in 2018, towards strengthening seed systems in Uganda.
“Part of the money was channelled to training of 18 seed inspectors and 104 extension workers to become para seed inspectors, in addition to the development and implementation of the Digital Seed Tracking System, to support the limited number of seed inspectors deployed by the ministry. Another part of the money purchased a 4WD pickup for the National Seed Certification services unit under the department of crop inspection, while the equipment was procured in the post-Covid-19 era,” added Jagwe.
“The motorbikes will ease mobility of seed inspectors to monitor seed multiplication fields while the tabs will help in capturing information that will be fed into the seed tracking system. The tracking system will then be accessed by the ministry to take appropriate action,” Jagwe added.