Monday June 17 2013

New funding model needed for agriculture - civil society

A woman rears hens at her home in Makindye.

A woman rears hens at her home 


The government’s reliance on donor support to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming is not bearing enough fruit, a civil society report indicates. According to the report by the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and individuals advocating for pro-poor budget policies, the civil society wants the donors to either withdraw from funding agriculture or develop a new funding model that guarantees results.

Millions of foreign aid availed to finance large scale projects to promote commercial agriculture have been misapporpriated. In the 2011/2012, about 74 per cent of the total donor funds equivalent to $341 million (about Shs852 billion) was not disbursed. This, according to policy analysts, sums up what has since become the norm over the years - irregular absorption of donor funds.

Coupled with the minimal allocation of the national budget, currently at Shs394 billion, partly explains why agriculture seems to be retarding as the service sector progresses.

According to the report, the poor performance of the donor support in agriculture stems from the failure of the some irrigation projects - under Farm Income Enhancement Project (FIEFOC).

The report observed that the project was poorly implemented due to delayed payment of funds. Another huge project whose impact could not be quite quantified was the improved rice production funded by the Japanese and Ugandan government. According to the report, the project was meant to improve rice varieties but poor quality inputs were distributed.

In response to the report, Agriculture Ministry Principal Information Scientists Consolata Acayo, argues that there are so many donor-funded projects that have done so well.

Mr Julius Mukunda, the senior programme director for Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), said the major challenge lies with the agriculture Ministry of rather than the donors.