By Joshua Kato
According to research, at least 30-50% of agro-inputs given out to farmers by government are wasted due to a lack of extension workers to guide them.
Such big losses are not hidden away from the Government. It is not surprising that a few years ago, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries proposed that in addition to giving out seedlings, farmers must also be helped to ‘dig’ standard holes for the seedlings, because they were losing them due to mistakes in planting and management because of lack of guidance.
All these losses were incurred because farmers did not have extension services.
As the country held the Uganda National Agricultural Extension Week 2023, from last week, it was made clear that extension workers/knowledge are the engine on which agriculture moves.
Their absence means that the vehicle does not move and farmers operate by guess work.
In spite of the challenges from extreme weather, locusts, and COVID-19, the agriculture sector has largely exhibited resilience, although food prices have largely risen in the last few years.
But among farmers, extension knowledge is still low. Many farmers practice through peer knowledge, a lot of which is not scientifically proven. Majority are still farming in the dark.