The embattled National Agricultural and Aisory Services (Naads) was too poorly-planned to help farmers, Prof Mondo Kagonyera has said.
The Makerere University chancellor believes that way too much money is being injected into the scheme with hardly any tangible impact on the ground. President Museveni has repeated criticized Naads, and recently proposed to replace some of its coordinators with soldiers.
Kagonyera spoke at the Jinja Nile Resort hotel on July 12, at the closing of a two-day symposium to mark the birth of Dr Norman Borlaug, the founding president of the Sasakawa African Association (SAA). He said without proper and clear guidelines to steer Naads, it would continue to fail.
“Government needs to review and change the policy on Naads so that it is well implemented to benefit the local farmers because now this is a year for Uganda and Africa as a whole to curb food insecurity,” Kagonyera told delegates from Africa, America, Germany, UK, China and Japan.
They included second Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ail, Agriculture Minister Tress Bucyanayandi Rhoda Tumusiime, the African Union Commissioner on rural development and agriculture, and former Benin President Nicephore Soglo. SAA emphasizes the importance of agriculture in Uganda’s economy and offers opportunities to the youth by providing employment, whilst stimulating skills and entrepreneurial activities.
Kagonyera urged government to partner with SAA which deals directly with communities so that Naads can be redesigned to suit the demands of farmers. Farmers, through the East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), urged their governments to empower the existing farmer groups with skills.
“We need proper representation and we should maintain the concept of value addition to empower farmers in market catchment areas and also identify enterprises they can work with,” said EAFF President Phillip Kiriro.
Source : The Observer