Uganda: Members of Parliament Demand Seedlings to Ward Off Famine
MPs want government to urgently distribute seedlings to avert the famine in the country.
Kilak North County MP, Hon. Anthony Akol, said that the long dry spell has left Ugandan farmers without seeds, despite the current rainy season.
“This month of August is the right time that we receive rain and people really want to plant. Government should urgently distribute fast maturing seedlings like maize and beans,” he said.
He was raising a matter of national importance, during plenary sitting on Thursday, 11 August 2022.
Akol called for food distribution to be undertaken in Agago district, where he said that 20 people have died as a result of famine.
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“Government should clearly inform us how food insecurity will be managed,” he said.
Hon. Christine Kaaya (NUP, Kiboga district Woman MP) urged government to expedite the feasibility of agricultural insurance and its related application.
“Farmers planted quality seeds and expected to get something. Some of the soils were fertile but the performance of the produce was poor. In order to have food, we must have seeds provided at the moment,” she said.
Kaaya also proposed that the finance ministry should instruct the Parish Development Model (PDM) Committee Savings and Credit Cooperatives Organisation (SACCO) account to release funds to facilitate seed distribution.
“Right now the money is lying idle in the PDM SACCO account,” said Kaaya.
Hon. Charles Tebandeke (NUP, Bbale County) blamed the current shortage of seeds to the incorporation of the Shs4 billion that was allocated for seedling procurement into the PDM.
“It is unfair and it will not address the issue of food insecurity in the country. All the cattle corridor is affected by the food insecurity,” said Tebandeke.
The Chairperson of the Committee Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Jane OKori-Moe, urged government to provide the Shs4 billion, saying that it is the only way to address the lack of seeds.
“When we were budgeting, we even warned members, we said, ‘This is the only thing we survive. The PDM does not have a food security arrangement,’ ” said Okori-Moe.
She added: “Now people are starving everywhere. We needed just Shs4 billion; Shs2 billion for planting season A and Shs2 billion for planting season B and I request that we provide that money so that people have the seeds.”
Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, an army MP and also the Deputy Coordinator, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) advised his colleagues in the House to introduce a new strategy to address the famine.
Kavuma revealed that the existing government enterprises under the agriculture ministry through OWC, the National Agricultural Advisory Services and PDM are not designed to address the famine challenge.
The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed the agriculture minister to provide a comprehensive statement on distribution of seeds on Tuesday, 16 August 2022.
“In the statement, we need actions taken to mitigate all these issues that have been raised. This is a very serious matter,” said Tayebwa.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.