Funding crippling mass food, seed production

LIRA– The government`s recently launched strategic mass food and seed productions in the country has been affected by poor release of funds in the first planting season.

Dr. Laban Turygenda, the director of Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute [Ngetta ZARDI] in Lira City said the delays in approving and releasing the supplementary budget has affected various government agencies implementing the project.

He said in a phone interview days ago that before the season kicked off, they had planned to plough 270 acres but this has come down to 90 acres because of failure by government to release the money in time.

Last year government approved Shs 176 billion to enhance the production of four major crops in order to avert food insecurity in the country.

Uganda Prison Service, Uganda People`s Defence Force [UPDF], National Agricultural Research Organisation [NARO], National Enterprise Corporation and National Animal Genetic Resource Center and Data Bank [NAGRC&DB] were identified to implement the project.

They were tasked to produce enough food for the country and ensure there is surplus for emergency. The targeted crops for mass food production were bean, maize, soybean and sorghum.

But Dr. Turygenda said Ngetta ZARDI was supposed to plough 500 acres last season, but ploughed only 196 acres and planted soybean and maize.

He added: “The budget for NARO under which we fall, was Shs 15bln which was to come in the supplementary but till now it has not come. We are wondering when this money will come.”

He suggested that in case the supplementary budget is approved and released, they will plant more crops in the second rainy season.

He added that the maize and soybeans they planted are performing well in the gardens. He said they expect to harvest 70 tonnes of maize and 10 of soybeans.

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