The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have launched a toll-free call centre for farmers to report suppliers selling or distributing fake agricultural inputs on the market.
Agriculture Minister Vincent Bamulangaki said the Kilimo Call Centre will go along way in helping the government curb the sale and distribution of fake agro-inputs.
He noted that several crops and animal farmers have failed to reap from agriculture due to fake agro-products sold freely on the market.
“… many people are engaged in agriculture for a living but many cannot gain from their efforts because of these fake business people who sell fake products. The government cannot allow this practice to go on,” said Bamulangaki.
Studies and surveys conducted in Uganda show that poor or fake agricultural inputs in particular seeds for planting are costing farmers up to 40 percent in crop failure.
The government last year recertified and re-accredited importers and dealers of agrochemicals and other inputs to fight their distribution to farmers. The exercise followed a countrywide outcry by farmers over fake agro-inputs.
However, efforts to crack down on input dealers who sell counterfeit products on the market is hampered by the shortage of agro-input inspectors. The government has so far employed only 17 input inspectors.
Studies by government and other private investigators such as International Growth Centre show that the vast majority of fertilizer samples in the country are substandard.
Additionally, very few of the allegedly improved seeds show success in producing large crops. International Growth Centre points out in its report that agricultural inputs sold at the retail level in Uganda are often fake or of very poor quality, as such the return on investment from these technologies is much lower than expected.
The toll-free call centre has been set-up by Cabral Tech Limited, an agricultural software company working with the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Chief Executive Officer Cabral Tech Limited, Uhuru Selubiri, said they are working with village extension officers, religious leaders and people selling agricultural inputs to distribute the toll-free number to farmers and make inquiries about agricultural services.
Cabral Tech Limited also announced it has invented web and mobile applications to help farmers get access to information on different products. The crop production management software application allows farmers to keep crop records and all farming data in a centralised place, generating instant report insights on the daily progress of their crops based on seasons and cropping years.
The agri-wallet application allows farmers to save and also access credit services based on their credit score and find better insurance packages.
while the livestock management application that has been designed for large scale commercial livestock enterprises that need detailed livestock management records and data. It helps livestock farms manage herds, breeding, and financial records. It has feed formulation tools and returns in investment estimation tools.