District Production Officers in Kigezi region are protesting the sharp reduction of the funds allocated to the NAADS Secretariat, for the
implementation of the NAADS wealth creation interventions for the financial year 2019/20.
Dr Samuel Mugasi, the Executive Director, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) revealed the funding cuts, in his message that was delivered by Dr Christopher Bukenya, the head of NAADS Technical and Agribusiness services, at the 4th NAADS Zonal Review and Planning workshop in Kabale.
Mugasi revealed that next financial year 2019/20 government has cut the budget for NAADs to 99.98 billion shillings from UGX 249.705 billion shillings for the current 2018/19 financial year, which is a 60% cut.
This, government says is due to the emerging funding pressures outside the agricultural sector.
As such, Dr Mugasi says NAADs in the coming financial year will be refocused to a large extend to support a limited number of key interventions for food and income security, agro-machinery and equipment for production and processing along agricultural value chains for agro industrialization in line with the budget strategy for FY 2019/20.
This news was received with a heavy heart by leaders in the Kigezi region.
Peter Turiyo, the Kanungu District Production Officer, Solomon Basaza the acting Kisoro District Production Officer and their Kabale District counterpart Beda Mwebesa castigated the move, saying the reduction will lead to the supply of low quality and substandard supplies by NAADS to the farmers.
They appealed to government to at least maintain the current Shs. 249Billion budget.
Tom Muhoozi, the Western region NAADS Board Director admitted that the reduction in the NAADS funds will affect the quantity and quality of program’s supplies but attributed the reduction to lack of enough funds by the government to fully facilitate all sectors of the economy.
Muhoozi however, revealed that they have already informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Finance on the possible challenges that are likely to result from the funds’ reduction as per the program’s primary objective to fight against poverty.