Leaders in Amuru district have threatened to mobilize their people to reject future distribution of free agricultural inputs from government if relevant authorities do not mind about quality.
The warning comes in the wake of a botched consignment of 1, 500 bags of dried cassava cuttings that were meant for distribution to farmers in six parishes in Amuru Sub-county Amuru district recently.
Two weeks ago, the chairman of Amuru sub county David Acire forced the supplier of cassava seeds to open the sacks only to find that they had dried and were therefore no longer viable (could not germinate).
Acire told The Sunrise that the cassava had been supplied under the Operation Wealth Creation program for distribution to community members in six parishes of Pailyec, Okungedi, Acwera, Toro, Pagak and Pamuca.
Acire said: “The supplier brought the burnt and dry cassava cuttings and dumped it here after we rejected it. We asked him to bring what can germinate. We were lucky to have opened and inspected the bags before signing anywhere. For sure this supplier confessed knowledge of the cassava cutting being burnt and dry. I wonder why they brought it for my people here.”
“Our people deserve better from this government program. We cannot allow to be fooled in this way. We gave the supplier to opportunity to resupply cassava cuttings or else we begin to tell our people to forget about this Operation Wealth Creation and resort to urging our people to preserve their own seeds for planting,” Acire added.
The consignment was reportedly procured at a cost of Ushs65million.
Richard Kidega, the Agricultural Officer of Amuru district says he inspected the cassava cuttings and confirms that they not fit for planting as they would not germinate.
Kidega advised residents of Amuru to consider planting disease tolerant varieties such as NAROCA 1 which can face up to some of the common cassava diseases.
Micheal Lakony, the Amuru LCV chairman also expressed dissatisfaction with OWC’s activities as meant to benefit a few people that form the supplier group, as the expense of the farmers who are the intended beneficiaries.
“In Uganda, we should be having the bottom up approach but these people just supply anything without consulting the farmers or the local leaders and when they have a problem, is when they get back to us,” said Lakony.
Lakony urged President Yoweri Museveni to reconsider the decision of using the army in an agricultural venture meant to benefit citizens.
“To me this is a failed project seen in the way people are complaining about the quality of supply,” argued Lakony.
Early this month, Gulu district authorities rejected another consignment of sorghum seeds on grounds that it was rotten.
In other areas such as Mityana, Gomba, Masaka, Kalungu, OWC has registered some successes in the delivery of coffee, mango and other seedlings. The ongoing rains coupled with the distribution of more mature seedlings has received positive reception.