Friday June 14 2013

Agriculture gets Shs394.4b of national cake

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

The government has once again left the development of agriculture to the private sector announcing a slight increase in the sector’s budget of 3.6.

The Finance Minister, Ms Maria Kiwanuka while presenting the Budget 2013/14 yesterday said: “Government does not own farms and is not involved in agriculture. Agriculture is a private sector activity.”

Alluding to the theme: “The Journey Continues: Towards Socio-Economic Transformation for Uganda”, Kiwanuka promised that the government will continue to provide support towards the sector’s development in areas of research, seed multiplication and certification, as well as disease control.

The minister said in the next financial year a total of Shs394.4 billion will be allocated to agricultural indicating a 3.9 per cent increment from last financial year’s Shs378.9 billion.

The minister said this allocation will go towards furthering development research, seed multiplication and certification, and disease control.

Still low
However, experts say the 3.9 per cent increase is too small to address productivity challenges constraining a sector that employs about 75 per cent of the population.

“We need to see a 1,000 per cent in in the sector’s funding in order to able to post good productivity and attract investments,” said Dr Geoffrey Bakunda a professor at Makerere University Business School.
During the last financial year, the agricultural sector output grew by 1.4 per cent, improving from a modest 0.8 per cent the previous year.

The recovery in agricultural productivity was driven by a bumper harvest and favorable prices, which signaled the potential of food for household security and incomes for most Ugandans and the region.