Traders involved in Agriculture chemicals and related input have called on the Agriculture Chemicals Control board under the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to speed up the registration and issuance of licenses for agro chemical dealers.
The traders under the Uganda National Agro Input Dealers Association (UNADA) said this will increase efficiency in fertilizer distribution, eliminate corruption, improve accountability, transparency and make it easy for the Ministry to monitor agro chemical dealers.
The appeal was made during the unveiling of the assessment carried out by consultant, Habib Amin Tibrichu on the challenges faced by agro dealers in Uganda, on Friday at Protea Hotel where the second Public Private Dialogue on the fertilizer sub sector also took place.
Agro dealers accused Ministry officials superintending the current cumbersome procedures when getting licenses, long processes of issuance of import permits in addition to corruption and bribery during inspections.
They added that the burdensome procedures have seen more expired and substandard agro chemicals on the market affecting farmer’s productivity.
“And when poor quality products get through the system, to the agro dealers shop, they are further distributed to farmers, translating into a financial loss to farmers at the same time agro dealers who are often arrested and products confiscated by control board,” said Tibrichu.
However, officials from the inspection division of Agriculture Ministry dismissed the claims adding that they only clear those who have all the requirements like a certificate on the safe use of agro chemicals.
To get that certificate one has to undergo a two-week training by the ministry of agriculture, Makerere university and development partners.
The dialogue was organized by African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and Ministry of Agriculture with financial support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
AFAP is extensively involved in Soil Health and promotion of fertilizer distribution mechanisms and policies in Africa.
According to the commissioner crop inspection in MAAIF Paul Mwambu, Ugandan soils have the highest rates of nutrient depletion through soil erosion. It estimated that we loss 80 kgs of nutrients per hectare per year, and that the most nutrients that are absent from our soils are mainly nitrogen and phosphorus.
He added that much as Uganda is a signatory to the Abuja declaration on fertilizers for African Green Revolution where members were tasked to ensure that they apply at least 50kgs of fertilizer per hectare by 2015, that hasn’t been implemented in Uganda yet.
He also added that the fertilizer policy in place now will help the country meet the targets with support from the newly established fertilizer manufacturing industries at Sukulu hills and Busumbu in Tororo district.