Seed Farmers Threaten to Quit Over Delayed Payment

2154 Views Mityana, Uganda

In short
The Committee Vice Chairperson, Robert Migadde, said they are collecting all the concerns affecting the sector and will present a motion to streamline seed multiplication.

Dozens of out-growers contracted by Pearl Seeds Limited are threatening to quit citing the failure by government to pay the seed company to clear them. Pearl Seeds Limited contracted more than 130 out-growers spread in Luweero, Mityana, Kiboga districts among others to participate in the multiplication of maize, beans, soya, sorghum, rice, cowpeas and simsim seeds among others.

Pearl Seeds Limited distributes seeds and farm implements to the out growers and buys back their harvest. Pearl Seeds limited is one of the companies that supplies seeds to government through the National Agricultural Advisory Services Naads under Operation Wealth Creation.

But Richard Cliff Masagazi, the Managing Director Pearl Seeds Limited, says one of the biggest challenges affecting seed multiplication in the country is delayed payment by government. He told the Agriculture Committee of Parliament on Tuesday, which is currently evaluating seed companies that the delayed payment by government is hurting their business. 

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Masagazi said they are yet to receive payment for the seeds they supplied to government last season. He however, declined to disclose how much government owes him, only saying it is in hundreds of millions.

In Kamira Sub County in Luweero district where several farmers are involved in seed production, many of them said they are frustrated by the delayed payment. The farmers are involved in multiplying hybrid maize seeds.  

Steven Kityo owns a 30-acre hybrid maize garden at Kataggwe in Kamira Sub County. He says much as he loves being involved in the maize seed multiplication, he is finding it hard to cope because of government delays to clear Pearl Seeds limited so as to pay them.

He says with the increasing demand for fertilizers and labor, he is finding it hard to take care of his maize garden. Kityo supplied 2 tons of maize seeds to Pearl Seeds Companies, which were taken by government for distribution under Operation Wealth Creation.

George Kabukaaku, another out grower says he supplied one and half tons of maize to the company. Kabukaaku says this is the last season he is being involved seed multiplication.

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The Agriculture Committee members were surprised that government hasn't paid the seed companies. The Committee Vice Chairperson, Robert Migadde, said they are collecting all the concerns affecting the sector and will present a motion to streamline seed multiplication.

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The National Agriculture Advisory Services-NAADS secretariat has not yet commented as the officer concerned with approving the payment of the companies, Prossy Mutumba couldn't be reached on her phone. 

She neither picked nor returned repeated calls from our reporter on her cellphone.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.