Government has directed that all National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads) district staff contracts not to be renewed while those still having running contracts be terminated immediately.
Mr Tress Buchanayandi, the Minister for Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries said that they intend to replace NAADs staff with agricultural extension workers in the new restructuring reforms of Naads passed by cabinet.
Apparently government has been employing one Naads staff at every district and two at each sub county. This translates to 112 district Naads coordinators and about 2052 Naads sub county staff at all the 1026 sub-counties (LCIIIs that brings the total staff to 2164.
Daily Monitor has learnt that contracts of district NAADs staff expired on June 30.
“….. as a matter of urgency, a circular letter should be issued to local governments stopping the renewal of contracts of all NAADs staff and those having running contracts be issued with notice of termination letters,” Minister Buchanayandi said in a letter to Ministry of Agriculture Permanent Secretary Vincent Rubarema and NAADs Executive Director dated July 1st.
The Minister directed that qualified NAADs staff shall however be interviewed for absorption in the unified system where agriculture extension staff shall be replaced with Naads staff and three technical officers with traditional names of district or sub county agriculture, veterinary and fisheries officers.
During the Heroes day celebrations in Mityana district this year, President Yoweri Museveni said that his latest plan is to restructure NAADS by scraping NAADs coordinators and deploying a soldier per constituency to monitor government projects.
The minister also directed that a national task force be appointed to implement modalities of a cabinet decision of streamlining single spine extension system from the center to local government, restructure NAADs secretariat into a lean one as per cabinet directive and manage input distribution and support services of army officers, aomong others.
The letter copied to local government, finance, prime minister and agriculture ministries also directed that some senior officers on full time basis will be assigned duties of director agricultural extension to coordinate local governments.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Vincent Rubarema during an interview with the Daily Monitor on Thursday said that they now want to reform agricultural extension from a project match to a permanent and pensionable structure.
Mr Anthony Wanyoto, NAADs communication officer said that although they have not got an official communication from Ministry of agriculture on the new reforms, they will continue providing agricultural advisory services as passed by parliament until advised otherwise.
“Naads staffs are employed by the district service commission and we have no say on them. We haven’t got official communication as per the new reforms and we will continue operating until advised otherwise,” he said.