The National Agricultural Aisory Services (Naads) programme has in the recent past registered some regrettable failures and unfortunate experiences.
In a bid to address the challenges that have been facing Naads in the past, government is restructuring the programme into a directorate in order to enhance service delivery.
The agricultural aisory agency has been in the spotlight for inefficiency and has been riddled with corruption, a reputation that is contrary to the objectives of the body’s establishment.
The restructuring process is steadily progressing according to the drawn roadmap. The 112 district Naads coordinators completed their contracts on June 30 and are now out of office.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has been criticised time and again for poor service delivery, and yet Naads extension workers have not been reporting to the ministry, rather, they have been reporting to their respective district councils.
This reporting is going to change with the new structure, because the extension workers at the districts are going to be amalgamated into a new system and they will be controlled by the directorate. Harmonisation of extension workers is very paramount in ensuring effective service delivery.
With the new development, Naads will recruit officers with proper qualifications in a fair manner, and they will join the public service. This also means they will be remunerated through the Ministry of Public Service like all publiccivil servants.
Government will continue with its supply of planting and stocking materials for the September-December 2014 season, and will be supplying vegetative materials, grain seeds, livestock and fish fingerlings.
The vegetative materials for this season include coffee seedlings, tea seedlings, cocoa, citrus, mangoes, pineapples, cassava cuttings, banana suckers and Irish potatoes. The supply of vegetative materials is reasonably good, and is targeted at zonal production.
The supply of the grain seeds is as large as the vegetative materials, and farmers are, therefore, aised and encouraged to use their own selected and saved seeds. The grain seeds include maize, beans, rice, soybeans, sorghum, groundnuts, sesame (simsim) and sunflower.
This season’s livestock supply includes 3,000 heifers for milk production, 800 animals for beef, 800,000 poultry kuroiler birds and 150 artificial insemination kits. So far, 448 heifers have been given out to youth groups in Buganda. The artificial insemination kits can keep semen for a period of three years and even more.
The supply of fish fingerlings will not only be for stocking new ponds, but depleted fish ponds will also be restocked. The supply includes 2,161,800 fingerlings of tilapia, 1,441,200 fingerlings of catfish and 300,000 fingerlings of mirror carp.
The Shs126.342 billion funding for this season’s seeds, planting materials and animal breeds is provided through the Naads Secretariat, including the savings from the restructured Naads, both at national and local government level.
The army is also playing a great role in the agricultural revolution through the restructured Naads. About 237 army officers under the Operation Wealth Creation framework are collaborating with MAAIF to ensure that agricultural inputs reach the farmers and have impact at farm level.
The army being a force of disciplined officers, will help instill and encourage discipline in Naads, and will also help with maintaining peace and security.
Ms Namayanja is the Minister of Information and National Guidance
SOURCE: Daily Monitor