As the reading of the 2011/2012 national budget draws near, farmers in Jinja say the budget should focus on improving agricultural infrastructure through providing storage and irrigation facilities as well as access to markets.
The farmers find these as the main hindrances to progress in the sector.
In the 2010/2011 budget, government allocated more funds to help farmers access loans but a few farmers at the grassroots have benefited.
John Nsoona, a vegetable farmer from Butagaya says government should give farmers loans to buy seeds, and provide communal pumps and ploughs to help them in specific areas since they have farmers' groups.
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Daniel Muwanga, the Jinja farmers' chairman says most farmers are hard hit by drought yet they have no knowledge and access to expensive irrigation facilities. This has led to most of their crops drying in the fields before they mature.
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Stephen Kiwemba, Jinja district production officer says most of the agriculture extension has been dwarfed by some government programs that are not closely supervised. In his opinion agriculture extension should be prioritized in next financial year so that farmers are reached and sensitised on sustainable farming practices.
He says in last year’s budget, former Minister Syda Bbumba announced 15 billion shillings to kick start an agriculture commercialization fund to be operational at every sub-county. This has had little effect in the sub counties. Instead he says this money should have been used for extension in order to improve the quality and quantity of yields from the gardens.
Agriculture expenditure was increased from sh310.7b in 2009/2010 to sh344.1b in 2010/11 financial year.
priorities in agriculture