Uganda to Implement a USD644m Agricultural Project
Thursday July 7, 2011
A NEW agricultural project has been designed to support the implementation process of both National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) programmes activities.
The five year project titled, ‘Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) whose implementation started late last year will run for five years and is expected to cost $664m.
“Government will contribute $544m while the development partners are expected to contribute $120m,” said Dr. Francis Byekwaso, the planning, monitoring and evaluation manager at the NAADS secretariat.
He was recently presenting a paper at an agricultural stakeholders meeting in Kampala.
According to Byekwaso, the new project is fully aligned to the National Development Plan and the ministry of agriculture’s development strategy and investment plan.
Over a period of five years, NARO will be charged with the responsibility of developing agricultural technologies and strengthening the national agricultural research systems.
NAADS on the other hand will be given resources to strengthen the national agricultural advisory services and supporting agribusiness services and market linkages.
“Some resources will also be allocated to both organizations to enhance partnerships between agriculture research, advisory services and other stakeholders,” says Byekwaso.
The NAADS technical services manager, Dr. Joseph Oryokot, while briefing farmers during the National Farmer’s Forum at colline Hotel in Mukono recently said most of their resources will be invested in promoting food security crops.
To achieve this, he said a total of 100 farmers per parish will be supported with food security material worth sh100,000 and repayment will be in kind.
NAADS will also support six market oriented farmers per parish and each will get sh1m worth of technologies.
“These will be required to pay back 70% to their group accounts in any established Savings and Credit Cooperative societies (SACCOs),” says Oryokot. Under the commercializing model farmer’s category, at least one farmer per parish will be supported with sh3m and they will also be required to pay back 70% to any established SACCO in their locality.
NAADS will also implement a commercialization challenge fund where 100 nucleus farmers at the district level will be given matching grants of sh30m each.
At the national level 10 farmers will be selected for possible support under the public, private partnership. Each selected farmer will be supported sh300m.
Oryokot however informed farmers that much as the ATAAS project provided for sh201bn last financial year, the finance ministry instead provided for a medium term expenditure framework of sh185bn leading to a shortfall of sh15bn.
“The implication of the funding gap meant that 52 districts did not receive the full resource needed for the programme implementation,” said Oryokot. Adding that, “The shortfall mainly affected funding to technology inputs for food security.”
Oryokot also noted that the NAADS secretariat reduced its work plan by sh7bn and reduced the district funding gap by about 46%.
In the coming financial year, ATAAS design provides for sh22.4bn but under the medium term expenditure framework, the NAADS budget is to remain at sh185bn.
The resultant funding gap of sh40bn is higher than that of last financial year as it will be difficult for the NAADS programme to fund ATAAS related activities.
“Our projection of the funding gap for technology development for food security farmers is sh67bn, this requirement has already been communicated to both agriculture and finance ministries,” said Oryokot.
He said last year, NAADS secretariat managed to implement the new developed guidelines to all the stakeholders in the countryside.
They also supported 650,000 farmers with food security planting materials while 26,000 market oriented farmers were also given support.
The secretariat also procured and donated two combine harvesters to Kapchorwa farmers and other value adding technologies procured and availed to beneficiaries in a number of districts.
On his part, the agriculture minister, Tress Buchanayandi assured farmers that they will not be required to co-fund for food security crops.
“We are dealing with farmers who are poor so they should not be required to pay for the food security planting materials,” said Buchanayandi.
By Ronald Kalyango: The New Vision Newspaper