KAMPALA- The Executive Director of the National Agriculture and Advisory Services (NAADS) Dr. Samuel Mugasi has revealed that the body has introduced a new model where farmers are to acquire seedlings at district level, in a move aimed at boosting agricultural production in Uganda.
For long, the Agricultural body has been bogged with complaints from farmers who have accused NAADS of supplying not only poor quality seedlings, but also failing to meet the demands of their respective areas.
However, Mugasi said the new development will be critical at solving the many challenges that they have been facing in the procurement process adding that as opposed to early days when NAADs heavily relied on few nurseries in strategic districts that forced the entity to procure seedlings from different districts, the new model with help solve challenges of late delivery, poor quality seeds that characterised the older system.
Mugasi made the remarks on Saturday during the NAADS annual review performance workshop that brought together Chief Administrative officers, RDCs, Agricultural officers and District chairpersons aimed at reflecting and discussing the progress of NAADS program at a ceremony held at Imperial Royals Hotel.
“We are going to make sure that these seedlings are procured in districts so that we minimize to transporting seedlings for long distances and it will help solve the problem of late delivery because we have to load and transport. It will also help solve the problem of quality because if you transport these seedlings as living things, the more you load transport, they get stressed and lose the quality. We shall also avoid the problem of delivering things that haven’t been requested for,” Mugisha explained.
According to the NAADS Chief, districts will be required to submit their three years projections of what they want to plant and this will give seedling operators to only rise what request has been for.
He explained: “So districts have given us their three year projections and the nurseries ware going to be raised to meet that demand, so we shall also deal with the question of over production, where nursery operators have been stranded with seedlings, they are producing without knowing the required quantity.”
He also went further by highlighting the focus of the Agricultural body in the coming financial year stating that NAADS focus has been put on livestock, value addition, water for production and Agro processing as they wait for the localised system of seedling to kick start in March next year where they will now be in position to give out seedlings as requested by different districts.
However, Joy Kabasti, State Minister for Animal Husbandry had no kind words for some of the district leaders whom she accused of sabotaging government programmes.
“I feel sad that the RDC who is the representative of the President is the one attacking the programmes of Government,” Kabasti said.
The angry Minister also pointed out agriculture officers who sell agricultural inputs to farmers’ items especially like vaccines which are meant to be supplied to farmers at no cost saying such acts limit the growth in the agriculture sector that the country is yearning for.
“If we send vaccines, why are you selling them and yet you know Government has bought them,” Kabasti stated.
She said that although the agriculture sector has grown by 3.6% and with the NAADS program, increased production of milk has been realized from 200m to 2.5bn liters, production of coffee has as well gone up from 3m to 5m bags but this can’t be sustained if the officials who are expected of supporting such systems are failing them.