By Henry Sekanjako
“The Civil society budget advocacy Group (CSBAG) has implored parliament to task the ministry of agriculture to finalize the process of developing the irrigation master plan as earlier directed by the agriculture committee.
The CSOs noted that a review of the ministerial policy statement 2023/24 showed that the ministry of agriculture has abandoned the finalization of the irrigation master plan and is proposing a legal framework for irrigation.
“Such a proposal will affect the coordination of investments for agriculture production and productivity. A funding gap of sh25b is required for provision of small scale irrigation to support production at parish level under the PDM.
Parliament has also been asked to push the ministry of agriculture to prioritize and budget for disease and pest control management.
The focus according to the CSOs, should be put on inspection of crop pests and disease of mother gardens and nurseries.
“This will ensure pest and disease free planting materials are available to farmers,” Agnes Kirabo, the executive director food rights alliance a member of CSBAG said.
A review of the ministerial policy statements for 2023/24 financial year shows that the ministry of agriculture has a funding gap of sh38.4b for the purchase of pesticides for crop disease control and equipment for inspection and certification.
They stated: “sh15.8b is required for conducting inspection of crop pests and disease free planting materials, while NARO requires sh20b for production of anti-tick vaccine in livestock”.
The CSOs also recommended that the ministry of agriculture together with other agencies under the agro industrialization program needs to prioritize interventions that address provision of post-harvest storage infrastructures.
CSBAG also highlighted what they described as poor market access and competitiveness of agricultural products.
They implored the ministry of agriculture to strengthen enforcement and adherence to product quality requirements to enhance competitiveness of Ugandan agricultural products in the regional and global markets.
“Uganda is the food basket of the region and agriculture plays a central role in Uganda’s economy and is a source of livelihood for a significant proportion of Ugandans. Therefor to realize this potential, Government needs to adequately invest and address the challenges across the entire value chain,” The CSOs prayed.