BY MARILYN KABALERE,
Advocacy Officer, PELUM Uganda

As we (CSOs and the public) continue to engage in the budget process, it is important to note that the discussions on agriculture financing are already yielding results. During a budget retreat that was held early this year, CSOs conducted an analysis of major government documents and came up with the a number of recommendations for the the FY 2017/2018 budget . The analysis and recommendations were mainly based on the budget proposals for FY 2017/18, the Government Annual Performance Report FY 2015/16 and the National Development Plan (NDP) II. The analysis revealed that the proposals made by government for the FY 2017/18 budget were not in line with NDP II. Based on this, CSO recommended;

  1. Supporting the non-wage vote function for agriculture extension service provision
  2. Linkages to be demonstrated between National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) Secretariat (Operation Wealth Creation) and the Directorate of Extension (DAE) and Local Government structures.
  3. Parliament and cabinet to intervene as a matter of urgency in resolving the current institutional dispute over the conflicting mandates between Ministry of Water and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in order to fast track development of the National Irrigation Policy and Master Plan while at the same time putting in place an independent irrigation agency/water for production (irrigation, water for animals and forestry).
  4. Government through the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to exploit the possibility of establishing an Agricultural Bank that will explicitly focus on farmers credit needs, hedge against risks like crop failures and volatilities in the prices of agro products.
  5. Distribution of inputs by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is done by NAADs and OWC for consistence.
  6. In order to aid responsive functionality of National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to meet the sector objectives and the National Development Plan (NDP 11) goals, the NARO budget should be increased.
csos-sharing-the-proposed-budget-proposals-for-the-fy2017
CSBAG members present budget proposals during a press conference held on 20th January 2017 at CSBAG offices

These recommendations were presented to the Agriculture committee in Parliament and we are glad that the committee agreed with some of our proposals including; a) having a master plan that clearly states the respective responsibilities for the Ministry of Water and Environment and Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) in regards to water for production and irrigation.  The committee also noted that b) part of the budget for seedlings/seeds inputs would be re-allocated to strengthen the agricultural extension services. Further still the c) committee recommended that government should fast track implementation of the National Extension Policy and Strategy and avail resources to the Local governments to operationalise the single spine extension system.

The same proposals were presented during the inter ministerial meeting on 6th February 2017 at the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and the delegation from Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries agreed to reach out to the President for some of the budget for seedlings/seeds inputs to be re-allocated to strengthen the agricultural extension services. In order to address the issue of water for production, government would look out for strategies on how the mandate between the two ministries can be harmonized. This was as a result of the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury Mr. Keith Muhakanizi clearly raising issues within the sector including the low mortality rates of seedlings given out,  water for production challenges, disease control and MAAIF not implementing some projects.

As an organization reaching out to smallholder farmers we hope that these pertinent issues are addressed because they are hindering the full utilization and exploitation of the agriculture sector in Uganda.

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