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CSOs hunt for emergency fund for fall army worm, foot and mouth disease

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 14th May 2018 01:34 PM

They argue that there has been persistent breakout of diseases such as foot and mouth disease in the cattle corridor districts of Ssembabule and the fall army worm are so far in the districts of Kween and Luwero.

CSOs hunt for emergency fund for fall army worm, foot and mouth disease

They argue that there has been persistent breakout of diseases such as foot and mouth disease in the cattle corridor districts of Ssembabule and the fall army worm are so far in the districts of Kween and Luwero.

PIC: Farmers say the persistency of pests and diseases among crops and livestock is a result of lack of information grom agricultural extension workers. (Credit: Sanya Wilfred)

AGRICULTURE 

PESTS AND DISEASES- Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have called on the ministry of finance to set aside sh20b that will counter emergencies such as the fall army worm and the foot and mouth disease that have become persistent in the recent times in the coming financial year.

The CSO known as Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) is a network of Civil Society Organisations that have chosen to work together to improve the livelihoods of the people.

They argue that there has been persistent breakout of diseases such as foot and mouth disease in the cattle corridor districts of Ssembabule and the fall army worm are so far in the districts of Kween and Luwero.

This is according to Stella Lutalo, the country co-ordinator PELUM, during a breakfast meeting on agriculture financing at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on May 10.

The meeting was aimed at enlightening stakeholders on the state of agriculture financing for the financial year 2017/18 so as to amplify voices on the specific areas for consideration in 2018/19 budget.

The meeting attracted stakeholders that included MPs on agriculture committee, budget committee and officials from finance, farmers and development partners among others.

Lutalo adds that information from the agriculture ministry indicates that they are in need of sh12.5b to sustain the fight against the fall army worm, but only 2.5b has been allocated creating spending pressure of sh8b.

While sh10b is needed for testing various tick resistant acaricides through the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO), only sh4b has been allocated, creating a gap of sh6b, added Lutalo.

"We, therefore, recommend that an addition of at least sh20b be allocated to MAAIF for the exercise in order to safeguard the investments in the sector across the subsectors," said Lutalo.  

In the meeting, farmers blamed the persistency of pests and diseases among crops and livestock to lack of information, especially from extension workers.

 

 Stella Lutalo (centre) taking to some of the Members of Parliament who had turned up for the meeting. (Credit: Prossy Nandudu)


Grace Asio, a farmer from Soroti, said when her garden was attacked by the fall army worm last year, she used omo onto her garden, unfortunately, since Omo (a detergent) has a chemical, the maize crops dried up.

"If there was an extension officer to come in and advice that even OMO is bad, maybe I could have saved some crops. The ministry should know that there are no extension officers in our villages to help us in case of outbreaks," said Asio.

Her call was reechoed by Mario Munguachen from Zombo, who said they are battling with climate change due to the influx of refugees who are cutting down trees for settlement, but no extension worker has approached them to teach them how to cope.

Commenting on the issue, the commissioner for extension in charge of skills development, Dr Patience Rwamigisa, blamed the low number of extension workers to lack of funds. He further blamed the finance ministry for not releasing money to MAAIF activities in the budget claiming there are not funds.

"Let finance approve budgets, however small, so that we can makes use of the small funds and do some work rather than postponing most of the activities to the following financial year and yet the communities continue to suffer due to inadequate staff or extension officers on ground," said Rwamigisa.

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