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Extension Workers To Earn Salaries next Year

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Mary Karugaba and Henry Sekanjako 

Despite all policy interventions to increase agricultural production and value addition, the Government will not fund the operations of extension workers across the country if the current budget allocations are not revised. 

The chairperson of the committee of agriculture, animal industry, and fisheries, Janet Okori-Moe, has told Parliament that according to the sector budget allocations for the 2023/24 financial year, the extension services budget has been reduced from sh245.4b in the 2022/23 financial year to sh141.9b in the next financial year 2023/24. This implies that the Government will only afford to cover their wage component and nothing else. 

Okori-Moe also informed the House, chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, that out of the required 9,275 extension workers, only 4,031 are available and face challenges of lack of transport and inadequate training, among others, while they lack performance indicators to measure their input. 

“The committee observes with concern the immense reduction of the extension services budget, which implies that extension workers will only be paid salaries with no tools or funds to operate. Therefore, the budget issue should be addressed urgently,” she said. 

The MPs in their report recommended that sh103.59b which has been removed from the district local government production services to support extension services be provided to reinstate the allocation to the current budget. They also want sh13b to be provided to facilitate the tooling and retooling of district extension workers with I-pads, computers, motorcycles and motor vehicles. 

Okori-Moe informed the House that despite all the policy interventions, the overall agriculture sector budget has been cut by sh88b in the next financial year. 

She said the sector is still faced with many challenges, which include, inadequate provision of extension and advisory services to farmers across the country, limited access to agricultural credit, and delayed implementation of the national irrigation policy.

Others are low uptake of agro-processing technologies, low prices of agricultural products on the market, high cost of agricultural inputs and the associated problem of counterfeits, pre-and post-harvest losses, and problems associated with land ownership, among others. 

Regional mechanisation    

Okori-Moe said although the agriculture ministry has invested substantial amounts of money in agricultural mechanisation equipment in the previous years, there is slow progress in the establishment of regional centres, with some even abandoned. 

She said the ministry requires sh20b for the completion, equipping, staffing and operationalisation of these centres. 

The committee informed the House that the ministry plans to procure and deploy 400 tractors, implements and accessories, as well as 1,000 walking tractors. 

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