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Counterfeit Agricultural Inputs Irk Luwero Bishop

The Bishop of Luwero Diocese, Eridard Nsubuga Kironde has expressed disappointment over the prevalence of counterfeit agro-inputs on the market, saying it is likely to retard the agriculture sector if not addressed.

According to Bishop Nsubuga, the diocese has embraced the Operation Wealth Creation Programme and mentored several Christians to engage in agriculture production to improve livelihoods, but this may be affected by counterfeit agro-inputs.

In October last year, Luwero Diocese received 10 in-calf heifers from the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) to boost its cattle farm in Kasiiso village in Butuntumula Sub County. However, Bishop Nsubuga says that they are frustrated by the influx of fake pesticides and other agro-inputs.

He explained that they are spending so much on buying pesticides, which are not effective and the ticks have now become resistant. Nsubuga appeals to the National Drug Authority and Ministry of Agriculture to crackdown on the dealers of fake agro-inputs if they are to protect farmers.

John Kibalama, the Chairperson of Bakyabumba Farmers’ Cooperative Society, says that a member of the group lost Shillings 3 million in one season after buying fake pesticides. Kibalama says that as result, they resolved to open their own farm store to enable their 600 members to buy quality pesticides directly from producers or importers.

Kidda Makubuya, the Luwero District Production Officer acknowledged the influx of fake agro-inputs but said the district has embarked on compiling a list of certified dealers, which will be available to the farmers. Makubuya also advised farmers to ask for receipts from farm stores and report to extension workers suspected of selling fake inputs.

He however noted that some agro-inputs may be genuine but fail to serve the intended purpose because of poor application and resistance by the pests. Makubuya asked farmers to seek the services of qualified extension workers and veterinary officers to minimize such risks.

Last year, Vincent Ssempijja, the outgoing Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries issued an alert on the influx of counterfeit agro-inputs and said they had stepped efforts to arrest the culprits. Ssempijja said the government had made arrangements directly to buy the vaccines from the Manufacturers after registering increased cases of Tick Resistance and Foot and Mouth Disease.

He also revealed the Ministry is developing a traceability system of all the agro-inputs from the Factory to the Farmers among other initiatives.

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