NTUNGAMO – Onion farmers in Ntungamo district have accused the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) of supplying them with low-value seedlings.
Speaking during a meeting with the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) commanders who were in the district to assess the performance of the onion growing on Monday, the farmers said the seedlings supplied failed to sprout. “Our appeal is that when seeds are to be given to us, we need to be involved and choose the right varieties,” Mr Steven Sabiti Rubegyemera, a farmer, said during the meeting.
The regional OWC commander, Col Joram Bashaija, said the meeting was convened to get feedback from farmers and to establish existence of farmer groups under Boona Bagaigahare Nyekundeire Group, an NGO headed by Ms Peace Rugambwa.
Major Kiconco Tabaro, the spokesperson of Operation Wealth Creation, said they are making efforts to blacklist all suppliers named in the repeated distribution of fake inputs.
Recently, General Salim Saleh, the Chief Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, listed 25 challenges facing the programme and suggested changes to ensure the programme creates impact. Among the changes was the introduction of regional logistics hubs to serve as one-stop centres for all logistics supported by OWC (certified seeds, pesticides, market linkages, extension services among others
Meanwhile, farmers in Kabarole district want the government to establish food processing factories to increase on value addition and create employment opportunities.
Speaking during a sensitization meeting on budget allocation at Karagura Sub County on Monday, the farmers said most their produce is cheaply sold to Kampala thus giving them low incomes.
Ms Helen Bagozi a farmer from Karagura Sub County said the establishment of small scale industries by the government will help farmers to increase on their livelihood where their produce will be added value.
The Kabarole Community Development Officer, Mr Chris Monday, said the government through the Agri-led programme, is planning to establish an industrial park that will address farmers’ needs.