Extension Weakest Point in Agriculture

The weakest point in our chain is not necessarily at the inspector level, it is at the agricultural extension level at the district local government level. We have begun recruitment of extension services providers and are 50 percent of our target. Over this financial year we shall reach 68 percent.

If at the farmer level, the field level, the farmer is aware, is trained, is assisted, is able to identify what would be the barriers to trade, to export of fresh produce, it is very easy for the farmer to minimise losses at that level with the help of extension staff.

We are organising the farmers, especially the fresh produce growers to have some kind of industry regulations – peer pressure at farm level.

At the export level – at the exit port – having two inspectors at Entebbe Airport per day, for example, is more than adequate if at farm level they were working in tandem and reducing the risk. It is the question of reducing the risk. We will never reach the zero interception.

These remarks were made by Permanent Secretary Vincent R. Rubarema on 29th August 2016 during the Uganda Joint Agricultural Sector Annual Review (JASAR) that was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala in Uganda.

 One of the events at the JASAR was a press conference among which the panellists were the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF)  – Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja, Hon. Syda Bbumba, Hon Joy Kabatsi, Mr. Rubarema, Other senior government officials – including heads of directorates within MAAIF, and Mr. Charles Owach of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO Uganda) who represented Government of Uganda (GOU) ‘Development Partners’.

 Mr. Rubarema’s remarks were in response to the following three questions which journalists asked the panellists:

  • Minister in your speech you mentioned that you are looking at agriculture contributing four billion dollars. You mention a list of crops, am wondering, you did not say what you are going to do. Are you going to provide seeds?
  • I would like the Minister to give me specific interventions in terms of innovations that he thinks can mitigate the scarcity of jobs in this country at present.
  • You mentioned the 4 billion dollars, but there is a concern right now about horticultural products. That the Ministry of Agriculture has only two inspectors and the 50 plus exporters are not having their products verified in a timely manner. What is the position of the Ministry ahead of the EU Review?

One response to “Extension Weakest Point in Agriculture”

  1. The weakest point as I see in commercial agriculture for export, is the Government’s failure to guide the farmers on which crops to avoid getting into for export.

    Any crops that are subsidized by developed countries are a no go zone for export. Poor nations that don’t and can’t afford to compete because they don’t protect farmers against bad weather and world market price tumbling by giving them free money.

    When world market price for coffee falls the loss is felt by the coffee farmer in poor nations like Uganda, but when world market prices for corn or wheat fall, developed nations cover their farmers by giving them free money to compensate them even when there is bad weather and yield falls, they get paid.

    They are paid when the yield is so good that prices fall, they are paid when bad weather causes low yield and they don’t have enough crops to sell. In fact they are paid so much that tax payers feel cheated because such generosity is never replicated in any other industry.

    Case in point:
    “Agriculture makes up just 1.5% of the production of the European Union. So it cannot be right that almost 40% of the EU budget is still spent on the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy].” – https://fullfact.org/europe/does-eu-spend-40-its-budget-farm-subsidies/

    Farmers Get Biggest Subsidy Check in Decade as Prices Drop- http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-04-11/farmers-get-biggest-u-s-subsidy-check-in-decade-as-prices-drop

    The European Union spends around €59 billion a year on farm subsidies.
    This site tells you who receives the money. – http://farmsubsidy.openspending.org

    Unless Uganda government specializes in those crops that are not subsidized for export by developed nations such as Organic farming, it will be next to impossible to make it.

    There are other areas that may also be a pitfall such as Vanilla which was promoted to farmers as Uganda’s green gold. The reasons behind it had to do with world shortage of vanilla because in 2000 cyclones destroyed about a third of the vanilla vines in Madagascar which grows about 60 percent of the world’s vanilla. So it was a mater of time for the world market prices to change as Madagascar recovered, but Uganda poor farmers were not told that. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/07/dining/shortage-makes-vanilla-as-precious-as-gold.html?_r=0

    There are many implications of how FOOD is used, nations have to concentrate primarily on getting enough healthy nutritious food for their citizens first.

    Food is a weapon – http://www.wupr.org/2013/05/25/food-is-a-weapon/

    And Food as weapon is in use – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=206555367


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