The focus of the 2016/17 agriculture budget should be allocating enough money to provide water for irrigation and employing more extension workers across the country. This has been retorted by small scale farmers in Uganda.
The move, the farmers said, will help them to produce good harvests despite the prolonged droughts that have had negative impact on the agricultural sector.
Presenting their position on agriculture financing to the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture last week, the farmers, under their umbrella body, Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESSAF) Uganda, said government was getting it wrong to think that distributing seeds under the Operation Wealth Creation initiative will solve the low production capacities at a time when climate change is having its toll on farming.
“Only 15 per cent of the agricultural budget is capital in nature. We urge government to shift this financial year’s agricultural budget towards putting up infrastructure such as irrigation schemes, markets and demonstration farms among others,” Mr Daniel Lukwago, the ESSAF consultant said.
“To achieve the goal, 40 per cent of the agricultural budget need to be allocated towards capital investment since the sector has continued to lag behind despite government continued supply of agricultural inputs to farmers,” Mr Lukwago added
Mr Mario Mangu-Acel, the national chairperson ESSAF Uganda, said government should also recruit more extension workers at sub-county and parish levels to train farmers on how to increase their yields through irrigation schemes.