MPs rally behind agriculture ministry despite budget cuts for FY 2024/2025

KAMPALA, April 12, 2024 – The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, has urged the Budget Committee to give special importance to Uganda’s agriculture sector as it is the backbone of the country.

Among’s appeal for allocation of resources to the sector was made during the plenary session yesterday as the House received the Ministerial Policy Statement for the Agriculture ministry for the 2024/2025 financial year.

The report, presented by Janet Okori-moe, the Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, revealed that the ministry’s budget will be slashed to Shs 644.39 billion from the Shs1 trillion that was approved in the FY 2023/24.

Although the House approved the committee report which stressed the need for more funding for the agriculture sector, the sector cut is attributed to a reduction of Shs 347bln in external financing and Government of Uganda development.

Other proposed budgetary allocations are to the Diary Development Authority [Shs 18bln]; National Animal Generic Resource Centre and Data Bank [Shs 79bln]; National Agricultural Research Organisation [Shs 161bln], National Agricultural Advisory Services Secretariat (Shs 35bln) and Uganda Cotton Development Organisation [Shs 5.3bln] and Uganda Coffee Development Authority [Shs 46bln].

In her presentation, MP Okori-Moe highlighted several critical areas within the agriculture sector that are facing significant funding shortfalls including the much needed foot and mouth disease [FMD] vaccines.

Although Shs 769bln was requested for to purchase the vaccines, only Shs 11bln was allocated to vaccinate the 44 million at risk animals on an bi-annual basis, leaving a funding gap of Shs 758bln.

Additionally, the procurement of tractors is facing a shortfall of Shs 259bln for the acquisition of 2,000 units.

Water resources for agriculture production also emerged as a key concern, with a funding gap of Shs 108bln for the construction of water harvesting facilities.

According to Okori-moe, efforts to revitalise ranches and support community breeding services require Shs130 billion to advance the Parish Development Model [PDM].

“The funding gap of Shs758.12 billion required to address the issue of FMD should be provided, to restore the integrity of the animal sub-sector in the country,” she said.

She further noted other unfunded priority areas, including the need for additional funding for water harvesting facilities, capital development support, revamping of ranches, establishment of animal feed processing plants, and promotion of emerging high-value crops.

In FY 2022/23, agriculture accounted for about 24 percent of GDP, and 35 percent of export earnings. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics [UBOS] estimates that about 68 percent of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture.

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