Activists want agriculture budget raised to Shs1 trillion

A farmer dries his maize produce in Kasese. A farmer dries maize in Mbale District in August last year. Crops are contaminated with poisonous fungi if not handled well. PHOTO BY PAUL TAJUBA

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Coalition says they will stage a demonstration if government fails to increase the budget


Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), a coalition engaged in budget advocacy, wants the Ministry of Agriculture budget to be raised to Shs1 trillion on the grounds that it supports the livelihood of the majority of Ugandans.
The group adds that if that is not done, then the budget should not fall below at least Shs800 billion.
The Ministry of Finance allocated Shs430 billion to the agriculture sector in the current financial year, up from Shs405.3 billion last financial yearl.
However, information available reveals the ministry has a funding gap of Shs816.96 billion in the medium-term already.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor last week, the CSBAG coordinator, Mr Julius Mukunda, said the increment would be used in acquiring modern research laboratories, commercial research linking farmers to the market.

Speaking at a civil society conference on public financing for agriculture research organised by the National Agricultural Research Organisation and CSBAG last week, the activist said budgetary increment in agriculture research would help to boost agriculture modernisation in the country. “Government can start with directing all external funding in agriculture into research,” Mr Mukunda said in a sideline interview last week.
He continued: “According to the World Bank standards, agriculture research funding is supposed to constitute two percent of the GDP ratio but currently it is about one per cent, we think that is not right.”
If research is improved, the activists say increased infection of diseases and pests such as banana wilt could be eradicated and so is foot and mouth disease instead of relying on only quarantine method.
Mr Mukunda said: “We also plan as a way forward to publish a paper on public financing for agricultural scientific research which would be translated into a policy matter aimed at directing resources towards critical areas.”

agriculture minister on governmen t policy

Talking to Daily Monitor recently about increasing of the budget of the his ministry, Agriculture ministerTress Bucyanayandi said government has a policy that it is following and that is what he will stick with and not demands from elsewhere.
According to the government, the investment being done in roads, power and other infrastructure are meant to boost agriculture and therefore demands to increase the budget are unrealistic and thoughtless.
In her 2014/15 Budget Framework Paper to Parliament, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said “Agriculture is still the under-exploited sector yet it is the mainstay of this economy, employing more than 70 per cent of the total labour force with a total contribution of more than 21 per cent to GDP.”