By Daudi Zirimala
The civil society organization, Share an Opportunity Uganda SAO has implored members of parliament to increase on the budget for Agricultural extension workers to enable them efficiently improve service delivery in the agricultural sector.
Speaking during the dialogue with members of parliament on agriculture committee and stakeholders the National Director of SAO Florence Suubi noted that the civil engagement alliance commends the Uganda government for making a provision to recruit 5000 extension workers country wide within financial year 2019/2020 but since the districts increased to 128, the government will have to recruit 12,000 extension staff to fill the gap.
She says that once the budgetary allocation for extension workers is improved, the productivity of agricultural sector will be empowered in terms mobilizing, capacity building of staff and farmers to bridge the current gap between the Extension workers and farmers in the village model.
However, Nakaseke South legislator Paulsen Luttamaguzi Kasana said that government has no interest in investing money in agriculture but instead in politics since its aim is to cling on power rather than improving the welfare of farmers.
The Uganda’s economy is in intensive care therefore there is o way Members of Parliament can help allocate more money to the agriculture ministry because of too much borrowing for other priority sectors than agriculture says Hon Luttamaguzi
Similarly in the same dialogue organised by SAO,it was noted the ministry of Agriculture animal industry and Fisheries MAAIF is in a process of drafting the national agriculture Extension services Bill intended to come with policy that will guide and improve on the services of the extension workers.
This was revealed by the commissioner for agricultural extension and skills management Dr. Patience Rwamigisa saying that currently the agriculture sector contributes 50% to the national economy but in return its gets only 3% of the national budget which challenges the sector says Rwamugisa.
This bill they would specify the worker of extension workers at district and sub county level as well enabling farmers to engage in agribusiness by prioritizing certain commodities per district.
Rwamigisa has revealed that government has come up with a new model where a district identifies two commodities in which they can specialize in so that the government can invest money in the specified commodities that the district can manage.