500 Farmers Sign Petition against Tax Measures on Agriculture

2826 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
In the area, a kilogram of maize seeds has jumped from Ugx 3000 to Ugx 3500, while a liter of weed master, a commonly used herbicide has also increased from Ugx 15000 to Ugx 17,000. Super glow fertilizers now cost Ugx 42,000 from the usual cost of Ugx 40,000 while mancozeb, a popular tomato spray now costs Ugx 14,000 up from Ugx 12,000, URN has learnt.

At least 500 farmers in Luweero have signed a petition in protest of the new tax measures on agriculture inputs.

The measures first presented in the FY 2013/2014 budget estimates include the removal of all tax exemptions for agriculture chain inputs and the introduction of  18 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on agricultural products. It covers hoes, pangas, poultry and livestock feeds, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, wheel barrows, milk cans, and packaging material.

Livingstone kategaya, the Chairman Kamira sub County, explains that the taxes have already translated into an increased cost for all inputs. As a result many farmers are getting frustrated and abandoning the industry.  

In the area, a kilogram of maize seeds has jumped from Ugx 3000 to Ugx 3500, while a liter of weed master, a commonly used herbicide has also increased from Ugx 15000 to Ugx 17,000.  Super glow fertilizers now cost Ugx 42,000 from the usual cost of Ugx 40,000 while mancozeb, a popular tomato spray now costs Ugx 14,000 up from Ugx 12,000.

As result, farmers have generated a petition that will be submitted to Parliament of Uganda asking MPs to block the measures with a view of saving the agricultural sector from plummeting. The petition has since received 500 endorsements.

Florence Kuteesa, a farmer at Kabaloge village in Kikyusa Sub County says that many of them depend on fertilizers and herbicides since the soils lost fertility. She adds that in order to increase productivity among Ugandan farmers, government ought to subsidize agriculture products and inputs as opposed to taxing them.

Augustine Mulindwa, another farmer in Kikyusa Sub County explains that the taxes are uncalled-for and believes that government can raise enough money for its sustainability if they cover corruption gaps.
 
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Meanwhile, Luweero Field Officer for Forum for Women in Democracy Alex Tibenderana says civil society activists through Civil Society Advocacy Group tend to raise one million signatures from farmers across Uganda and petition parliament to block the taxes.

Luweero Woman Member of Parliament Brenda Nabukenya adds that the tax is unjustifiable.
 
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About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.