By Donald Kiiyra
JINJA - The president of the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNAFFE) Charles Ogang has requested government to revise taxes on agricultural inputs.
Ogang made the request through State Minister for Fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa at the official opening of the National Agricultural and Trade Show in Jinja on Wednesday.
Ruth Nankabirwa (M) and FAO represetative in Uganda Alhaji Jallow (2nd L) listen to farmer at the Isingiro district stall on Wednesday. Photos/Donald Kiirya
Alhaji .M. Jallow, the Country representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Uganda was guest of honour and officially opened the show.
“There are some issues which we farmers believe must be addressed by government; whereas it has given priority to agriculture we feel there are some issues that need to be revisited,” Ogang said.
He said: “taxing agricultural inputs is actually hurting the small scale farmers and the burden will be more on them than commercial farmers. We are saying government is trying to discourage people who are already in the field or in the sector of agriculture and will run a way from it.”
UNFFE President Charles Ogang (R) leading State Minister for Fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa (3rd L) and FAO representative in Uganda Alhaji Jallow (2nd L) in touring stalls at the National and Agricultural show on Wednesday.
Ogang further said that farmers do believe that policies like the seed policy has taken long but once passed, it will help them curb the distribution of fake seeds and let them know the authorized distributor .
He also requested government to work on the fertilizer policy too.
Ruth Nankabirwa said they discussed the issue of taxes on agricultural inputs, adding that the President had to call a meeting on Tuesday with officials from the Ministry of Finance to brief him about the taxes.
“The problem with the majority of our farmers is that they are not VAT registered and that’s how they lose out, otherwise a farmer who is Value Addition Tax registered will always recoup whatever taxes he has paid. Those who are not registered will have no way claiming anything,” Nankabirwa said.
The State Minister for Fisheries Ruth Nankabirwa (L) and FAO representative in Uganda Alhaji Jallow (M) at the NEC tractor project stall
He also urged farmers to keep records and be real commercial farmers and get registered.
She added that the seed and fertilizer policies are being worked on, adding that they were already passed by her Ministry and are pending approval by cabinet.
Alhaji Jallow said FAO will continue supporting Food and Agriculture in Uganda and see that farmers add value to their produce.
He added that they will continue working with government, private sector and farmers to promote food security.
Jallow encouraged Ugandans to engage in family farming to ensure food security, sustain high levels of productivity in Uganda and preserve traditional food products.
Present at the opening was the Isabalangira of Busoga and acting Kyabazinga, Prince David Kaunhe Wakholi, Jinja Mayor Mohammed Baswali Kezaala and the RDC, Richard Gulume.
They toured stalls of exhibitors which included the NEC Tractor Project Ltd, Galaxy International School, the Isingiro district farmers Association, FAO stall and the WFP stall among others.