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Govt Slashes Funds For Agriculture Extension work

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Vision Reporter

The Government has slashed sh120b meant for extension workers in the next financial year, leaving them with sh140b to cater for wages and salaries. This was revealed by the agriculture state minister, Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, yesterday while highlighting achievements of the agriculture sector over the last two-and-a-half years of the implementation of the National Resistance Movement Manifesto for 2021-2026 at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala.

“We do send the money, sh140b, to local governments for wages and allowances. We have also been sending sh120b to cater for their operations, but in the budget of the next financial year, we were only given money for the wages; operations were not catered for,” Bwino said.

He said one of the reasons advanced by those formulating budgets is that extension has been catered for through the Parish Development Model. Bwino, however, noted that they plan to engage the finance ministry to find ways through which this money can be reinstated.

“We are still trying to understand how these people will go to work without operating funds. This is in all districts and sub-counties in the country,” he added. An extension worker or service provider is a person who works directly with farmers and other people in the agriculture chain, ensuring that they get services from suppliers of agro-inputs, finances and technologies while showing the farmers best practices. Dr Patience Rwamigisa, the assistant commissioner in charge of extension services in the ministry, said scrapping operational fees means that strategic plans aimed at increasing production will not be implemented, including the PDM.

“This is the most unfortunate decision ever to be made on agriculture by those in the budgeting process. You cannot cripple the sector by cutting off the foot soldiers. So, why then continue funding the headquarters? she asked.

“Agriculture extension is the lifeblood of the ministry, you cannot have a whole production department scrapped,” Rwamigisa noted.


George Wanakina, the Mbale district production officer, said the decision should be revised to prevent losses that farmers incurred when the National Agriculture Advisory Services programme was scrapped. Eliminating physical interaction between extension service providers and farmers affects production.

“Throughout my work as an extension worker, I have learnt that farmers prefer interacting with a person before even discussing the knowledge, technology and advice you are promoting. That makes it easy to address their challenges.

“The current decision means the whole extension system is being cut off. The decision should be reversed,” he said.

Dr Christopher Dratele, the Moyo district production officer, said the decision should be revisited because his staff will have no means of even servicing equipment such as government motorcycles used to visit and offer services to farmers in villages. Henry Richard Kimera, the team lead manager at Consumer Centre Uganda, noted that the decision will stifle sustainable agri-food systems. “We shall have removed the people who have the capacity of giving information on good farming practices from farmers. This will affect the quality of food for domestic consumption and the regional market,” Kimera added. Grace Musamami, the Uganda Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services secretary-general, said the decision should be reversed and instead money be added for the recruitment of extension workers, who currently are only 36,000.

“We interacted with the agriculture committee of Parliament and expressed our concerns, but we are surprised that they did not take heed. Absence of extension services affects adoption of government programmes,” he said.


Mobilise and register farmers into production and marketing groups to get the required services

Train farmers in technical and group dynamics and leadership skills for improved production

Teach farmers land preparation, planting and management of crops including agrochemical use, proper animal management, post-harvest handling, value addition and marketing, among others

Create links between farmers and other actors in the sector like input dealers and traders, processors and financial institutions

They also advise farmers on how to harvest water for both livestock and crop production

They alert farmers to anticipated disasters, such as disease outbreaks and extreme weather changes so that they prepare for them accordingly.

This is in addition to conducting on-farm visits and attending to their complaints

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