Govt to have monopoly on seed, stocking materials
The Government has agreed to take over control and monopoly of developing, producing, breeding and importation of seeds and stocking materials in order to ensure their safety and quality.
State Minister of Agriculture Fred Bwino told MPs on the Economy Committee of Parliament that the control and monopoly on the seeds will be done through the agencies responsible for agricultural research and animal genetics improvement.
He, however, did not mention the agencies.
“These government agencies will be in charge of developing and producing all foundation seed and breeding stoke material, importing foundation see/parent stock where needed, and releasing it to the licensed private sector for multiplication and distribution,” he said.
He said the move is intended to enable the Government to be in charge and responsible for safety and quality assurance across the value chain.
Bwino further informed the legislators that the Government plans to create a commercial arm through the same agencies in the form of a private seed company as a vehicle of intervention for purposes of availing seed and disseminating other research output, and addressing affordability issues.
Accompanied by the ministry's technical team, Bwino was responding to concerns raised by MPs on the current poor-quality seeds flooding the market.
While discussing the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries report last year, Parliament recommended the revamp of the National Seed Company to curb counterfeit agricultural products on the market.
Chairperson Janet Okori Moe, who presented the committee report on the Ministerial Policy Statement and Budget Estimates for Financial Year 2022/23, is cognizant of the high cost of agricultural inputs which she says has forced farmers to opt for counterfeit and low-quality inputs on the market.
“The rise in prices has extended to other inputs such as seeds, pesticides and machinery repairs, which has led some farmers to look for cheap counterfeit agricultural inputs that in turn reduced productivity from farms,” Okori Moe said.
The committee report which was adopted by the House recommended that government revamp the National Seed Company to ensure the provision of improved quality seeds and subsidized inputs to farmers throughout the country.
“This will ensure availability of quality, affordable seeds and subsidized inputs on the market,” the report read.
Bwino also told the legislators during the meeting that the government in its efforts to increase production will identify, profile and partner with largescale commercial farmers, especially those with big chunks of land to produce on a large scale, identify high-value commodities with high national and international demand.
Some of the identify key commodities include coffee, macadamia, avocado, cashew nuts, tea, tea, cotton, beef ranching, oil seeds, oil palm horticulture and other enterprises that may emerge from time to time.
Bwino noted that the combined market value of some of these commodities in Africa alone was over $20b (sh73.4 trillion) but Uganda’s export earnings from these commodities amounted to less than $1b (sh3.7 trillion) in the year 2020.
Source: New Vision