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Farmers Fail To Utilize Sh1.6b Irrigation Funds

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By Vision Reporter

Over sh1.6b which the Government disbursed to Luwero to fund farmers’ irrigation projects may end up not being utilised, according to district officials.

Samuel Bongomin, the district agricultural engineer, said only sh60m has so far been utilized by the farmers out of about sh1.7b which was received for the financial year.

Bongomin attributed the situation to the lack of suitable water sources and failure by the intended beneficiary farmers to raise the required 25% co-funding.

Bongomin made the revelations during a public debate on service delivery which the district leaders convened at the district headquarters.

He informed the meeting which was chaired by the higher education state minister,

J.C. Muyingo. He said 951 farmers showed interest. However, of them only 110 farmers were found to have suitable water sources, while only four could raise the required 25% co-funding.

According to the terms, the programme beneficiaries are each supposed to contribute 25% of the unit cost of irrigation which is sh20m.

The chairperson of the district production committee, said the required 25% contribution which is about sh5m, was too high for most farmers in Luwero.

They suggested that the co-funding requirement be lowered to 10% so that it is affordable by the majority of the farmers. Muyingo, however, rejected the proposal.

During the heated meeting, the residents also expressed their views on the implementation of the Parish Development Model (PDM) and service delivery in the departments of health and education.

On the implementation of the parish model, the residents complained about the discrepancies in the disbursement of funds to SACCOS.

According to the PDM administrators in the district, each parish was supposed to get sh57.9m. Several residents complained that their SACCOS received as little as sh7m. Some SACCOS chairpersons also complained that their members had been trained and were ready to do business, but the PDM funds were locked up in bank accounts.

Muyingo directed the district PDM officials to release the money for SACCOS that were ready.

In the education department, LCS said there was lots absenteeism among teachers.

They also said teachers were unwilling to work in remote areas where there are no modern facilities like electricity.

Regarding health, there were complaints that there were no drugs in government health units.

The district health officer attributed the drug stock-outs to the irregular supply of drugs by National Medical Stores.

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