A latest report indicates that Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) Programme created a few years ago is failing to fulfil its duties.
According to a report by Parliament’s Sectoral Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on the implementation of OWC obtained by Business Focus, a number of farmers are eating the seeds given to them instead of planting them due to late delivery.
“The seeds are picked by a few people who eat them instead of planting them. This leads to wastage of time and resources,” the report reads in part.
The report observes that OWC distributes inputs late, and because of this, people don’t pick them especially seedlings and they go to waste.
The report notes that the seedlings delivered late dry up as dry spells set in.
“The Committee was advised that planting materials should be delivered in March and July/August only if farmers are to gain maximum benefits from them,” the report says.
The Committee carried out its investigations in the districts of Agago, Oyam, Nebbi, Kakumiro, Kyenjonjo, Kabarole, Bududa, Kibuuku, Buvuma, Nakapiripirit, Soroti and Moroto.
The Committee also found out that inequitable distribution of inputs and poor quality inputs are also adversely affecting farmers.
“Most of the suppliers of seeds and seedlings do not own nurseries. They buy from uncertified nursery operators and end up compromising the quality to meet the demand,” the report says, adding that OWC doesn’t offer extension services to farmers at all.
“The farmers are given inputs without proper knowledge on how to take care of them,” it adds.
It is worth noting that OWC was initiated as a Presidential directive on Heroes Day celebrations of 9th June 2014, at which President Yoweri Museveni decided to scrap National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) coordinators and deploy soldiers to implement the NAADS programmes.
Consequently, Cabinet made its approval on July7, 2014 under minute 186 (CT 2014).
However, the Committee report recommends that government put in place a legal framework for implementing the OWC Programme for it is currently operating under Standing Orders of Procedure.