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MPs Demand Status on Distribution of Hand Hoes

President Yoweri Museveni in his 2016 campaign manifesto pledged to avail hoes to every household in the country in order to support agriculture production. Museveni also noted that each household especially the vulnerable persons should be provided with two hand hoes.
Agriculture needs more than what government and bankers are offering at the moment to grow

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Members of Parliament on the Agriculture Committee have tasked the Ministry of Agriculture to explain the status of distribution of hand hoes to farmers.

The Minister of Agriculture Frank Tumwebaze together with the Minister of State for Animal Industry, Bright Rwamirama on Wednesday had appeared before the Committee chaired by Abim Woman MP Janet Grace Okori-moe.

President Yoweri Museveni in his 2016 campaign manifesto pledged to avail hoes to every household in the country to support agriculture production. Museveni also noted that each household especially the vulnerable persons should be provided with two hand hoes.

However, many farmers have five years later not received the hoes.

MP Okori-moe said that even when parliament appropriated money towards the procurement of hoes, many households had not received them. She stated that a supplementary budget of 2.5 Billion Shillings to procure 2.5 million hoes had been passed and her committee does not have accountability for the funds.

John Amos Okot, the Agago North MP also questioned the Ministers about the hand hoe distribution exercise.

“Is it because of the Covid-19 pandemic that we cannot trace the hoes?” he asked.

The Committee tasked the Minister to present a list of the beneficiaries so that money appropriated can be accounted for.

In response, Minister Tumwebaze who was only recently posted to the Ministry asked the Executive Director of National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Dr Samuel Mugazi to provide the committee with answers.

Mugasi explained that the hoe distribution exercise was supervised by NAADS to support farming in households across the country. He assured the committee that hoes had been distributed to districts in Karamoja, Teso and West Nile regions and that in the current financial year 2021/2022, the government has promised more funds to procure more hoes.

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Mugasi also said that MPs would be involved in the distribution exercise of more hoes since they are supposed to check on the quality of services versus the expenditure.

The NAADS Executive Director also says that as farmers prepare for the planting season, they plan to allocate each constituency through Members of Parliament 3 tons of maize as one of the ways to ensure the country is food secure.

The maize seeds would be availed to MPs in the first week of August 2021 and then distributed to the electorate for planting.

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Mugasi explained that NAADs has in the second season of 2021 prioritized crops with greater impact on household incomes, food security, and national export earnings.

Meanwhile, the MPs also raised other general concerns regarding challenges of the country’s Agriculture Sector and these included the Foot and Mouth Disease, Irrigation challenges, the market for agricultural produce and others.

John Baptist Lokii, the Matheniko Country MP said that the rampant outbreak of cattle diseases is a great concern to farmers.

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Dr Abed Bwanika, the Kimaanya- Kabonera County MP demanded that government considers re-centralization of disease treatment. He also said that the country cannot talk about market access for the product without first regulating the quality of food produced by the nation.

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Mary Begumisa, the Sembabule Woman MP said that the issue of fake farm inputs sold by different agricultural dealers also needs to be dealt with.

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Charles Matovu, the Busiro South MP told the Ministers that fishermen along had also been affected by changes in climate change, which he said saw fish float on Lake Victoria. He also cited the mistreatment of the fishermen by the Fisheries protection Unit. 

Tumwebaze said that he would meet with concerned parties such as the Fisheries Protection Unit to address the issue of fishing on Ugandan lakes. He also assured the MPs that his Ministry was to focus more on research to improve productivity.                    

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