Michael Oneka, a farmer under Tidi –ma-myero Farmers’ Group in Bungatira Sub –County in Gulu District, says 12 of his group members paid Shillings 148,500 each totalling to Shillings 1,782,000 to Simon Lamex Ocaka, a staff of United Bank of Africa.
John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Gulu showing hosting team from Ministry of Agriculture at his farm in Gulu City -Photo by Jesse Johnson James
Cluster Development Project rolled out in partnership with the Ministry of
Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the World Bank in Gulu District
and Gulu city has flopped due to the misappropriation of farmer’s contribution
to the project. The International
Development Assistance under the Word Bank is financing the project.
The project became effective
in January 2017. However, it started in Gulu District in 2019/2020
financial year. Under the project, the beneficiaries are expected to open an
E-voucher account at United Bank of Africa -UBA and pay Shillings 148,500 before
receiving inputs like tarpaulin, seeds and fertilizer.
In Gulu, over 200 farmers who paid their money last year for the agricultural
inputs did not receive their portion because the person who collected the money
did not deposit on their respective E-Voucher accounts.
Michael Oneka, a farmer under Tidi –ma-myero Farmers’ Group in Bungatira Sub
–County in Gulu District, says 12 of his group members paid Shillings 148,500 each
totalling to Shillings 1,782,000 to Simon Lamex Ocaka, a staff of United Bank of
According to Oneka, they paid the money last year in the second planting season
after Gulu District officials introduced Ocaka to them. He, however, says that
to date they have not yet received the inputs.
Oneka disclosed that when they inquired where their money went, they were told
that it was fraudulently collected and that the UBA staff involved has been
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He revealed that when they accessed documents at the project’s desk in Gulu,
they found that over Shillings 30,000,000million from over 200 farmers including
themselves was swindled.
Moses Omony, another farmer under Okum-goro farmer’s group in Bungatira Sub
–County revealed that his group members collected Shillings 1,551,000million
last year and handed it to the UBA staff sent by Gulu District authorities.
He explains that they
received tarpaulins and on March 11, 2021, they collected another Shillings 777,000
and handed it to the same staff but have not received their inputs. According to Omony,
whenever he tries to make inquiries, he fails to get a positive response from
the concerned authorities.
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Terensio Ocitti, a farmer under Pur ber Cooperative Society in Paicho Sub –County,
says that he paid his money in March last year. He, however, says that he has
not received the inputs. He says this forced him to plant four hectares of beans
Agnes Akwero, another farmer under the project says that she has failed to
plant rice this year as she had planned because of theft of her money. Geoffrey
Komakech, a famer in Koro in Pece –Laroo Division, says that she thought the
project would help farmers like other government programs like Operation Wealth
Creation but was surprised to learn that their money was swindled.
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Geoffrey Anywar, the Gulu District Agriculture Engineer, says that Simon Lamex
Ocaka, a former staff of United Bank of Africa-UBA swindled the farmers’ money.
According to Anywar, Gulu District is working hard to help the farmers recover
their money from Ocaka by engaging his family.
Ocaka has not yet commented, as our reporter could not reach him because
his known mobile number was unavailable.
The Agriculture Cluster Development Project has four components, which include
support for the intensification of on-farm production, value addition and market
access, policy, regulatory and institutional support and coordination,
management and ICT platform.