A new department of Police has been set up to track, arrest and prosecute criminals who commit agriculture related crimes such as producing and supplying counterfeit seeds, fertilizers, and inputs.
The Agriculture Police Unit was inaugurated by the Agriculture Minister Tress Buchanayandi on Monday Sept 14, during the opening of the 5th Joint Agricultural Sector Annual Review held at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort.
The launch of a police force comes in the wake of a major outcry from the general public that counterfeit inputs are causing massive losses to farmers.
One study sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, noted that African countries lose between $300m and $1b (Ushs800b – Ushs 3.6trillion) every year due to counterfeit inputs.
But the ministry which spearheaded the creation of a special police unit for agriculture-related offences, too faces some serious accusations relating to its weaknesses that result into the release of fake seeds.
Recently the same ministry was caught up in an embarrassing situation when the new UPDF outfit Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) distributed fake seeds to farmers that caused a backlash.
It emerged that whereas OWC had initially been criticised, the actual culprits were the officials of the ministry of seed certification who failed to stop private seed companies from supplying to NAADS fake seeds that eventually got into the hands of OWC.