KAMPALA — The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Frank Tumwebaze has said that his ministry will take action against vendors of fake agricultural input.
In a recorded audio message, Tumwebaze whose ministry has been criticised for failing to address the matter, outlined his course of action—promising to solve the problem once and for all.
“I want to let you know that MAAIF now working with NDA is going to intensify through the district authorities, to publicize registered veterinary drug and authorized drug sellers and distributiors, such that you the farmer, you take personal responsibility before buying the drugs,” he said.
He said MAAIF and NDA will soon issue and publicize through the entire mass media and social media, the registered phamarcies, registered drug stores for veterinary or non veterinary.
Tumwebaze said the Ministry of Agriculture plans to start with veterinary sub sector per district, such that farmers know licensed pharmacies in their respective districts.
Common types of counterfeits
Agriculture Ministry has previously warned of the most common types or signs of counterfeits.
Mislabeling: This is where the label does not reflect contents in the package. This is often with imports.
Label Reuse: Where a premium product’s label is placed on sub-standard or adulterated products.
Label imitation: Where a premium brand is imitated but the product sub-standard or adulterated.
Consumer ignorance, as it is still difficult for smallholder farmers to determine if a product has been adulterated (diluted or fake) or if it is a sub-standard product (expired or poor quality) based on the label alone.
Labels and packages are tampered with, and the product itself may look and smell likes the authentic product.
But also on top of it all, the profit potential of dealing in counterfeit products motivates ill-intentions within actors across the value chain.
Here is the Minister’s full statement:
To all farmers in the country, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you and silute you.
I am addressing you on this subject of fake inputs, fake agro-chemicals, fake acaracides.
The problem mainly is in the veterinary sector, but also to some extent, in the agricultural sector.
I want to let you know, that the ministry of Agriculture has noted with concern the growing number of reports we get, that all these drugs most of them do not have the required levels of efficacy.
Like I had announced some months back when when I took over the ministry of Agriculture, we put up a committee, a technical comittee, to study the issues, to study the supply chain, factors responsible for increasing tick resistance, to study why farmers do not get value from the acaracides or other inputs they buy.
Just to let you know that we have not rested, this struggle continues. We are still waiting for the committee’s reports to tell us, such that we are able to formulate policy and regulatory reforms, informed by evidence of experts.
But while that one is still ongoing, I want to let you know that MAAIF now working with NDA is going to intensify through the district authorities, to publicize registered veterinary drug and authorized drug sellers and distributiors, such you the farmer, you take personal responsibility before buying the drugs.
You ask yourself that this outlet that I am going to bug in at my trading centre, in Gulu, in Kamwenge, in Mbarara, Soroti, is it on the NDA-MAAIF list?
Because if we dont intensify that, fake products will continue to litter the market, and they will be offered at attractingly low prices to lure all of you into that of course the genuine ones will be priced higher, so a farmer ordinarily will go with what is priced cheap, or lower and that one in most cases will be the fake ones. So, bear with us, join us, anything you buy ask yourselves, is this on the NDA list?
So in the coming days, MAAIF and NDA will issue and publicize through the entire mass media & social media, the registered phamarcies, registered drug stores for veterinary or non veterinary, we will start with veterinary, per district, such that you know if its my district of kamwenge, we should know the drug pharmacies, veterinary drug pharmacies licensed.
Then if you buy a drug from there, and is not working on your animals, then you are able to trace, you are able to report, and we hold accountable that store. That store will also be responsible for where they source they source their drugs.
If they are the type who go and buy anything from the container village, yet they are licensed, they risk loosing their licence and suffering the associated legal penalties. So now, I am sending you this legal message share it, in as many networks of farmers you can, to let you know we are not sitting, to let you know we know the problem, we are part of the farming community, and together we shall address it.
Happy new year, I remain Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
God bless you