Ntoroko Maize Farmers Accuse District Of Diverting Shs 300 Million

2139 Views Ntoroko, Uganda

In short
Maize farmers in Karugutu Sub County, Ntoroko district are accusing the district for diverting funds meant to address the problem of post harvest handling of agricultural produce in the area.

Maize farmers in Karugutu Sub County, Ntoroko district are accusing the district for diverting funds meant to address the problem of post harvest handling of agricultural produce in the area.
 
In February, under the Area-Based Agricultural Modernization Programme (AAMP), the district agricultural department was allocated 300 million shillings to construct two maize storage facilities and purchase rice hullers.
 
In Karugutu, where 70% of the households are engaged in maize growing, they face difficulties in storage, drying and cleaning their produce. They dry maize on the dirty ground, which exposes it to dust. The farmers also store their produce in houses, which affects the quality of the maize.
 
Rashid Muganzi, the chairperson of Karugutu Maize farmers association says that the district diverted the money without consulting them. Muganzi wonders why the district diverted money yet farmers have been requesting for assistance in vain.
 
Samson Mugenyi, a maize farmer says that he had a lot of expectations in the facilities because he is currently facing problems with storing and cleaning his maize. Mugenyi says that since there is no storage facility, he is forced to transport the maize to stores in Bundibugyo and Fort Portal, whose charges are also high.  
 
He explains that when he lacks the money, he is forced to sell the maize when dirty and of poor quality.
 
//Cue in: “it could have helped us…”
Cue out: “…it’s expensive on our side.”//
 
But Thomas Rusongoza, the district agricultural officer Ntoroko says that he is not responsible the money.
 
Rusongoza says that the district contracts committee had identified a contractor to construct the stores and was in the process of purchasing the cleaning machines, but it was put on hold by the district finance department.
 
//Cue in: “we got concerned…”
Cue out: “…clean the maize.”//
 
When contacted, Francis Musinguzi, the Ntoroko deputy Chief Administrative Officer admitted the district diverted the money.
 
Musinguzi says that the money was diverted to repair some of the district vehicles which had been grounded and to renovate the district headquarters, which were in bad shape. 
 
He says that the funds have been included in 2011/2012 financial year budgetary estimates and will be refunded.

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.