Ministry of Agriculture Media Release

Tuesday, March 5, 2019


The Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I greet you all and welcome you for press briefing on Agricultural Extension this morning!
1.    As you may be aware in 2014, Cabinet restructured NAADS program and shifted the mandate of Agriculture Extension service delivery back to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) under the Directorate of Agriculture Extension services. MAAIF is therefore responsible for coordinating agriculture extension service delivery countrywide both public and private.
2.    To date the Ministry has recruited 3,811out of the initial target of 5000 extension workers across the country. The current extension worker to farming household ratio is about 1:1800. This is an improvement from the initial ratio of 1:5000 in the 2014/15 at the time of reform. The internationally accepted ratio is 1:500. To cause agricultural transformation, we need to have a critical mass of agricultural technicians both in public and private sector working on a daily basis with smallholder farmers and other value chain actors to facilitate technology uptake and value chain development.
3.    Our national agricultural extension strategy set a target of 12,036 as the minimum technicians needed in the public sector for an agricultural revolution to be effected.  The Ministry, however, is evolving different extension service delivery models to address the constraint of limited human resources at community level.
4.    To recruit and fill all the positions as approved by Cabinet we require additional wage of UGX 50 Billions and non-wage of UGX 56 Billions to support local government operations in FY 2019/2020. The transport equipment your commissioning today is about 25% of our requirements.  We have phased procurements over the next three years. In FY 2019/2020 we require additional UGX. 15 Billionsto buy about 1000 motorcycles for extension workers and about UGX 33 Billions for additional earth moving equipment. This is expected to improve the mobility of extension workers to reach out to as many farmers as possible, and also improve access to water for production in view of unpredictable weather changing patterns. The earth moving equipment is managed on a cost sharing basis where farmers contribute money for fuel and the Ministry pays costs of maintenance and operators.
5.    One of the models we recently launched is the Village Agent Model in which village entrepreneurs are identified and supported to facilitate transactions of different value chain actors with the farmers and in the process enabling farmers access markets.
6.    The Ministry is also working with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to institutionalize farmer field schools in our extension service delivery system and in higher institutions of learning. This model proved effective in transforming lives of smallholder farmers in Africa. The Ministry has also introduced the model farms and nuclear farm approaches for commercialization of agriculture. These approaches are being implemented and have caused impact in places where they have been adopted particular formaize and rice enterprises.
7.    The delivery of agriculture extension services is constrained by a number of factors and key among them arelimited numbers and capacity of human resources, inadequate transport equipment, and limited access to water for production, access to quality inputs and barriers to access markets.
8.    On Thursday 7th March 2019,  H. E. The president will commission 12 pieces of earth moving equipment each with 2 multipurpose bull dozers, 3 hydraulic excavators, accessories, trailers and harrows and giving out 284 tractors and implements. These equipment shall be used in the construction of water facilities for example dams, valley tanks, fish ponds, canals, bush clearing, farm access roads and farm storage and processing infrastructure. The tractors will be accessed by farmers to increase land under cultivation. His Excellency will also handover 126 motor vehicles and 1,061 motorcycles to facilitate mobility of agricultural extension workers countrywide in 128 districts. These will significantly improve timely service delivery. In addition, he will also launch a number of agricultural extension materials the Ministry has developed; a Diary for Agricultural Extension Officers designed to support supervision, monitoring and performance evaluation; and a farmer register to be kept and regularly updated by the parish chief. The agricultural extension materials will guide extension workers, farmers and the general public on the various service delivery provisions by the Ministry including policies, laws, strategies, guidelines, regulations, standards and operational procedures.
9.    The earth moving equipment will be managed on a cost sharing basis where farmers contribute money for fuel and the Ministry pays costs of maintenance and operators.
10.    On lack of quality and affordable inputs, allow me to use this opportunity to commend the work and effort of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) programme. Under OWC, a number of initiatives and activities undertaken have greatly increased production and productivity across various enterprises including the recent bumper harvest in maize.OWC has been and is still boosting the supply of farmer inputs for crops, livestock, fish, post-harvestmanagement, farm equipment etc. I commend OWC for this effort. Production of maize has increased over the years and this is attributed mainly to distribution of seed by government, increased adoption of improved maize varieties by farmers, as well as increased vigilance by government to control pests and diseases. Maize production statistics based on district returns to UBOS show a steady increase overtime from 1.17 million MT in 2001 to about 2.55 million MT in 2011 and above 5 million MT in 2018. With regard to tea, there is marked increased in leaf production with reports of over production beyond the existing tea processing capacity in the districts of Bushenyi, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kanungu and Buhweju.
11.    The increase in leaf production has led to the establishment of 6 new tea factories in Kabale, Kisoro, Bushenyi and Kyenjojo.  In addition, 17 new factories are expected to be built in the next three years under the Uganda Tea Growers and Processors Consortium.
12.    As a result of government initiatives through provision of seedlings, tea exports have significantly increased. According to the Mombasa weekly market report for the month of December 2018 Uganda registered 71,000 metric tons, the highest ever in the history of tea growing of the country.
13.    The support towards production of fruits has focused on provision of seedlings for citrus, mangoes, apples and pineapples to farmers in district local governments. The interventions on the above key strategic fruits are stimulating the need to establish Agro-based factories in the different production areas.

14.    Consequently, Government through NAADS in partnership with Alvan Blanch, a UK Company, has earmarked funds for establishing fruit processing factories starting with locations in Nwoya, Nakaseke, and Kayunga commencing this FY 2018/19; with 2 additional fruit factories planned in Busoga and Greater Masaka sub regions in FY 2019/20. It is worth noting that recent export earnings of fruits & vegetables have increased by up to 85.13% from 20.77 million USD in 2014 to 38.46 million USD in 2017.
15.    Some of the key achievements the agricultural sector has registered; the sector grew by 6% for the first time in two decades from 3.2% in 2016/17, Export earnings rose by 9.6% to US$ 3.93 billion in the period July 2017 to March 2018 from USD 3.59 billion a year earlier and the sector contribution to GDP increased from 24.9 in 2016/17 to 26.2%. This increase was mainly on account of a rise in the export volumes of coffee, tea, maize and beans.
16.    The average income of rural households, many of which are subsistence farmers improved from UGX. 242,024 in 2012/2013 to UGX. 303,000 in 2016/2017. However, this is still low compared to urban households whose monthly incomes averaged UGX. 703,000 in 2016/2017. These improvements are partly a result of continued investment in agriculture and intensified effort to support provision of planting and stocking materials, increased delivery of agriculture extension services, control of pests and diseases among others.
17.    The Ministry is also constructing three ferries to facilitate movement of agricultural produce and services from the islands in Lake Victoria (Kalangala and Buvuma) to the mainland and vice versa; and we are also finalizing procurement of two drilling rigs to improve access to water at farm level.
18.    As a matter of priority due to adverse weather and climatic conditions we have to provide irrigation especially for small holder farmers as well as labor saving technologies. For this, Government has earmarked funds to work on 15 irrigation schemes around the country, they include:Doho phase II (Butaleja), Mubuku phaseII (Kasese), Wadelai (Nebbi), Tochi and Ngenge (oyam), Atari (Bulambuli and Kween), Katete (Kanungu) and Kawumu (Luwero) others are Amagoro (Tororo), Nabigaga (Kamuli), Rwimi (Kasese and Bunyangabu), Nyimur (Lamwo), Musamya (Kayunga), Kabuyanda (Isingiro) and Igonero-Naigombwa (Iganga and Bugiri).
19.    Government is also planning to set up 13 regional referral centres for mechanization and irrigation. Two are now completed;Agwata (Dokolo district) and Buwama (Mpigi district) mechanization workshops. In the next financial year, four (4) other regional centers will be established in Mubende, Mbale, Arua, and Hoima districts. The regional mechanization centers will extend technical services to users of agriculture mechanization technologies as well as support to tractor hire services.

20.    In consultation with Ministry of Local Government and Public Service the ministry will propose to change the duty schedule and qualifications of parish chiefs to include agriculture and rural development. This will enable the parish chief compliment agricultural extension services. The Ministry also proposes to increase funding of local government production departments in line with the National Agricultural Extension strategy 2016/2017 – 2020/2021approved by Cabinet. As we achieve our targets of production and productivity, focus of future interventions is on value addition. This is expected to create employment opportunities for our young people and improve our balance of payments through export of value added products.

21.    I therefore wish to extend my sincere thanks to the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) for the partnership with Uganda Government especially through the Agriculture Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services (ATAAS) project, the National Oil Palm Project (NOPP), the Vegetable Oil Development Project Phase 2 (VODP2). IFAD has also supported the training and capacity building of extension workers countrywide in areas of Agribusiness and Commodity Value Chain Development for Dairy, Beef, Fish, Fruits and vegetables, Honey; Enhancing Livestock Food security (Dry season feeding of Ruminants); Appropriate Irrigation Technologies for Improving water Efficiency in Agricultural Production, Post-Harvest Handling in grains, Agricultural Risk Management, Sustainable Land Management (SLM), Mind-set Change in Agricultural Production, Nutrition and Family Life Education (FLE), Management of Extension services linking farmers. Inaddition, they have contributed 113 motor vehicles and 1034 motorcycles from the consignment you are handing over today.
22.     My sincere thanks also go to the Japanese International Development Cooperation (JICA) that supported the Ministry to procure the first 4 sets of the earth moving equipment. This enable the Ministry to pilot a cost sharing scheme with farmers and the model has produced remarkable results.
23.    I wish to extend special thanks to the Government of the United States of America through the United States Agency for International Development for the support extended to MAAIF and Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives to develop appropriate policy and regulatory environment that facilitate commercialization of agriculture. They have facilitated formulation of the following among others; national agricultural extension policy, the national grain trade policy, standards and regulations in grain trade, national mechanization policy, national seed policy and regulations and are currently facilitating formulation of the national livestock development policy.
24.    I wish to thank all the other development partners for all the support be it technical, material and financial extended to MAAIF over the years and for keeping the candle of agricultural transformation burning.
25.    I also wish to thank all of you for the continued support in covering the ministry events and take this opportunity to invite you all to Namalere on Thursday 7th March 2019 for Commissioning and handing over these equipment to the DLGs.