Cooperatives & Communities

PDM: Farmers, oil millers urge gov’t to set prices of commodities

LIRA-Oil millers, manufacturers, and farmers producing sunflower and soybean in the Lango Sub-region want government to regulate the prices of commodities in the country, saying it is the only way farmers will be saved from being cheated by middlemen.

This, they suggested, will save farmers from losses as the government roll out the implementation of Parish Development Model [PDM].

They said the prices of different oil seeds [sunflower and soybean] have dropped, urging government to step in and fix the problem before it bites farmers hard.

Soybean and sunflower are among 18 commodities given priority in the implementation of the PDM.

The model is an agricultural scheme that the government says is aimed at eradicating poverty among 68 percent of Ugandans currently engaged in subsistence agriculture.

Other commodities include cotton, coffee, cassava, cocoa, tea, vegetable oil/palm oil, maize, rice, sugar cane, fish, and dairy among others.

Abal Geoffrey, a produce dealer said the price of soybean has dropped from Shs 3,500 to Shs 2000 and sunflower from Shs 1,800 down to Shs 1,200 a kilogramme.

“If they failed to regulate, we shall abandon producing the commodities and focus on other things which is beneficial,” Abal said.

The factories procuring the commodities from the farmers include Mukwano industry, Mt Meru, MMP Nile Agro, Ngetta Tropical Holding, Kumar Millers, Guru Nanak Oil Millers among others.

Deo Kibirige, the chairperson Uganda Chambers of Commerce and Industry Lira branch said the factories dropped the price because of lack of market for its products.

“Sunflower and soybeans are used for manufacturing animal and chicken feeds but it is unfortunate that the same products are being imported from other countries at a cheaper price and ours cannot compete,” he said.

“If you are to do the investigation by now under normal circumstances you would find so many trucks loaded with sunflower and soybean in different factories but there is nothing because the factories have dropped the price,” he said.

He said farmers are frustrated because they spend a lot of time expecting something after three months but instead walk away with losses.

“Farmers have started experiencing challenges before the PDM, what of if the implementation kicks off where there is massive production,” he added.

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