Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the ministry of agriculture to pay 200 million Shillings to farmers for services they rendered to the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADs) program.
The money is for farmers in Bufumbira South constituency that NAADs has failed to pay since 2014.
Kadaga’s directive followed a complaint raised by the Bufumbira South MP Sam Bitangaro, who said that NAADS owed a number of potato farmers in his constituency 200 million Shillings.
He noted that the money was a result of land the farmers leased to NAADs in 2014 as well as farmer services such as labour and transportation of fertilizers among others.
Bitangaro described the performance of the NAADs program as poor and incompetent
Speaker Kadaga gave government up to Wednesday next week to pay the farmers and accordingly report back to the House.
Kinkizi West MP, James Niringiyimana Ruugi expressed surprise about the delayed payment saying that a farmers’ engagement with the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda together with the NAADs leadership set an ultimatum of June 2016 to have the money paid.
He noted that even Kabale demonstration gardens are almost dying because of NAADs not responding to its responsibilities.
Kampala Central MP, Muhammed Nsereko said that anything to frustrate farmers from production shall hinder the country’s economy.
He said that for the last five years, over one trillion Shillings had been directed to NAADs but there is no productivity.
Bitangaro said that unless the money is paid to the farmers, government generated projects are likely to be shunned in the future.
Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa pledged to cause the minister of agriculture Vincent Ssempijja to address the House on the progress of payment next week.
The NAADs program started in 2001 primarily to increase farmers’ access to market information and agricultural technology.It was planned to run until 2026.
President Yoweri Museveni has in the recent past expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of NAADs even noting instead of supporting NAADs, government will start providing more funds to SACCOs.
Two years ago, the president drafted the army – UPDF – to do some of the extension services previously under the NAADs docket.