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Rakai Farmers Protest Cluster Development Project Conditions

Each of the project beneficiaries are required to first deposit a total of 168,000 shillings to an account in United Bank of Africa-UBA, before they are given implements that can cater for a plantation; measuring to one acre. Benon Kayima, the Byakabanda sub county youth chairperson, says the precondition of making a payment before getting the inputs, is standing as an obstacle to many intending farmers in the villages who cannot raise the required fees.
Yusuf Lubega, Rakai Agricultural and Production Officer speaking during a meeting of Farmers who protested the tough conditions of Agricultural Cluster Development Project

Audio 3

Farmers in Rakai district are protesting the conditions imposed on them to access inputs distributed under the Agricultural Cluster Development Project-ACDP.

In November last year, government through the Ministry of Agriculture initiated a five-year project with an aim of raising on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in specific geographical clusters.

Under the project, farmers are asked to register through an electronic voucher management system before they are given agricultural inputs, fertilizers and pesticides in a cost-sharing arrangement.

The project is supported with a tune of USD 249-million, government secured from the World Bank to implement it for five years.

However, the project’s implementation process in Rakai district has been received with mixed feelings from farmers. They are protesting the money they are required to contribute as a precondition to getting the fertilizers.

Each of the project beneficiaries are required to first deposit a total of 168,000 shillings to an account in United Bank of Africa-UBA before they are given implements that can cater for a plantation; measuring to one acre.

Benon Kayima, the Byakabanda sub-county youth chairperson, says the precondition of making a payment before getting the inputs, is an obstacle to many farmers in the villages who cannot raise the required fees.

Kayima demands that government should instead allow the beneficiaries pay the money after the season’s harvest when they have earned proceeds from the farms.

 //Cue in: “kino kiri ku by’abulimi…..   Cue out; …..muba temuyambye.”//

Bernard Lukeera Burimuye, the Kyandaza village chairperson has also protested the continuous distribution of unsolicited farm inputs like coffee seedlings, cassava cuttings among others given out under the Operation Wealth Creation-OWC, arguing that many of these are being wasted in villages without serving the intended purposes.

He argues that OWC coordinators are fond of forcing inputs on farmers just for the sake of filling accountability forms.

//Cue in “eky’amazima emmwanyi….. 

Cue out; …..naye ssibyenjagala.”//

However, Yusuf Lubega, the Rakai district Agricultural and Production Officer has during a farmers’ sectoral sensitization meeting at the district headquarters, indicated that the project is implemented under a cost-sharing partnership between government and the farmers.

Lubega argues that the project is being implemented in what he describes as most transparency manner and that farmers can join at free will.

//Cue in: “government mu project…..

Cue out; ……council ya district ekimanyi.”//

On the unsolicited agriculture inputs, Lubega pledged to speak to the OWC coordinators to streamline the operations, urging residents not to sign for supplies they did not request for.