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Bwanika Faults Govt On NAADS

People’s Development Party (PDP) President, Dr. Abed Bwanika, says the new proposal to change the National Agricultural Advisory Services will not yield any tangible results. In her budget speech on Thursday, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka said the government will change NAADS from its current form to what she calls a single-spine extension system.

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People’s Development Party (PDP) President, Dr. Abed Bwanika, says the new proposal to change the National Agricultural Advisory Services will not yield any tangible results.

Bwanika while reacting to the 2013/2014 budget speech says government fell short of publicly declaring that it is scrapping the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS).

Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka on Thursday said the government will change NAADS from its current form to what she calls a single-spine extension system. The proposal according to Kiwanuka will take NAADS back to the old system that used to work directly with farmers on demonstration farms.

The new system will focus on provision of improved seeds and extension services to farmers.

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Bwanika however says the new NAADS remodeled around seed distribution will face the same challenges that government is attempting to address. He says NAADS apart from the coordination problems it has faced, was also too politicized and diverted from its original aim. 

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Bwanika, who contested twice for the presidency, says farmers still need real extension services beyond the improved seeds that government seems to be prioritizing in the new financial year budget. He says farmers have generally received what he calls a row deal from the budget.

He says funding for agriculture should have been increased beyond the current six percent share of the total budget. The sector was allocated 394.4 billion shillings with the minister emphasising that Agriculture is a private sector activity.

State minister for Agriculture Dr. Zerubabel Nyiira Mijumbi in an interview agreed that part of the problems of the old NAADS is that it had been taken over by politicians distributing seeds and other farming implements instead of providing extension services.

Dr. Nyiira says under the reformed NAADS more farmers will be served compared to the current situation.

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He says NAADS was initially was meant to support institutions which work with farmers but it instead got involved in many other activities which they were not meant to work on.

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