By Julius Luwemba
The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has dispatched 200 motorcycles worth sh2b to extension workers in 77 districts and 6 cities. While handing over the motorcycles on Monday morning, Frank Tumwebaze, the MAAIF minister said, the bikes will go a long way in assisting extension workers to sensitise and monitor farmers across the country.
He noted that the agriculture ministry will be setting aside some money every financial year, to buy equipment such as motorcycles and vehicles for extension workers. “This business of officials spending money in seminars and workshops should not be prioritised over physical deliverables such as agriculture equipment,” Tumwebaze urged. He noted that the finance ministry also restored the extension grant part of which will be used to service and fuel the donated motorbikes.
Deus Muhwezi, the director for extension services in MAAIF highlighted some of the challenges which are expected to be addressed by the motorcycles. “The primary responsibility of our extension workers is to move, reach and teach the farmers. This has been a great challenge for the extension farmers especially given the rugged terrain and long distances to different farms and gardens,” stated Muhwezi.
He also expressed optimism that the motorcycles and deliberate arrangement to procure more, will help to support the implementation of parish development model. “The choice of 77 districts and 6 cities was based on the food security situation where the selected local governments were hit harder by the long dry spell before the current rains,” he explained, adding that each of the districts was to receive not less than two motorcycles during the first batch.
The programme is expected to be carried on, every financial year until each subcounty in Uganda will be accorded at least one motorcycle for agriculture purposes. Some of the districts that benefited from the first batch include Abim, Adjumani, Agago, Aleptong, Amuria, Bugiri, Buhweju, Bukedea, Buikwe, Bukwo, Bulambuli, Bundibujo, Bushenyi, Busia and Butaleja. Others include Dokolo, Ibanda, Iganga, Isingiro, Jinja, Kabarole, Kagadi and Kalangala plus several others.