ChimpReports Top News, Pictures, Videos From Uganda & East Africa 2018-11-19T11:23:55Z https://chimpreports.com/feed/atom/ WordPress ChimpReports <![CDATA[URA To Host First Science Model Workshop]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177251 2018-11-19T11:23:55Z 2018-11-19T11:23:55Z Uganda Revenue Authority is hosting the 1st ever Science Model Workshop in revenue administration in Africa, from 19th – 23rd Nov 2018 at Speke Resort Muyonyo.

“Over 100 delegates from 38 African countries have joined us to discuss the Evolution of Science in Revenue Administration,” said Ian Rumanyika, Manager Public and Corporate Affairs Uganda Revenue Authority.

He said Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) has made a deliberate effort to embrace and leverage every possible avenue in enhancing tax compliance and expanding the country’s tax base.

Mr. Patrick Mukiibi the Ag. Commissioner General URA has noted that several efforts have been put in place to modernize revenue collection processes, develop staff competence and embrace new methods of doing business to enable the organization to realize its mandate.

As a key player in revenue mobilisation, science is one of the most effective compliance tools.

“It has become manifestly clear that science is going to become one of the most important pillars for revenue administrations in order to match the deliberate strategic shift by majority of the African Countries to become industrialized,” said Patrick Mukiibi.

He added that: “This Science Model workshop therefore has created a platform that has brought together the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) member countries to share the Ugandan experience of applying scientific approaches in tax administration, and showcase the use of scientific and analytical tools and methods in complementing the conventional tax compliance initiatives.”

Uganda Revenue Authority is optimistic that this workshop will lay a strong foundation for continued application of Science in Tax Administration.

The workshop is organized under the auspices of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF).

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Sharon Kyatusiimire http://chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Tilenga Development Project ESIA Report to Delay First Oil]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177244 2018-11-19T10:51:06Z 2018-11-19T10:51:06Z The delayed approval of the Tilenga Development Project Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report will push forward the Final Investment Decision (FID) by the international Oil Companies (IOCs) Total E&P and Tullow Uganda.

The revelation was made by Hon. Peter Lokeris, the Minister of State for Minerals during the second Public Hearing for the Tilenga ESIA in Nwoya district.

The Public Hearing was organized by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU) on the request of the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) which is mandated to approve the ESIA under Regulation 22 of the 1998 NEMA Act.

In his opening remarks to over 900 locals from Nwoya and other parts of the region, Hon. Lokeris said government had made milestones towards the realization of First Oil in the country since its discovery in 2006.

“Since the discovery of commercial volumes in 2006, upstream capital investment has grown substantially. This implies the interest in our resource is at its peak. We have created the necessary legal framework to regulate the sector and we are now only waiting for the approval of the ESIA to enable the developer make the Final Investment Decision,” said Lokeris.

The Tilenga Development Project ESIA conducted by AECOM Uganda limited and Partner consult on behalf of the developers Total E&P Uganda B.V. and Tullow Uganda Operations PTY Ltd production, describes the main characteristics of the project, the identified impacts and the proposed mitigation measures to minimize potential negative environmental and social impacts.

Mr. Otonga Michael, the Director Finance and Administration at the PAU while delivering the Executive Director’s remarks said the Public Hearing was organized to capture the input from the Projected Affected Persons (PAPs).

“The objective of the ESIA Public hearings is to provide the platform for the developer to inform the entire public of the outcomes of the ESIA study, verify accuracy of the findings in relation to the situation on the ground and give the affected and interested parties an opportunity to express their opinions on the issues contained in the findings of the ESIA study,” said Otonga.

However during the submissions on the ESIA, the LCV Chairman for Nwoya District Mr Patrick Oryema highlighted that the Oil and Gas sector is the most volatile industry which if handled badly would spark unending suffering.

“We the people of Nwoya are very happy that you (PAU) have organized for us such a gathering to capture our opinions about the Tilenga Project ESIA, however we may have either positive or negative results if the issues raised today are not incorporated in the report,” said Oryema.

In his submission, he drew attention to several issues that included; neglected of Nwoya from most of the developments and heaping them in Bunyoro alone, the ESIA should have a systematic employment plan and follow Ugandan Labour Laws on employment, meet tax obligations for local governments, Nwoya district be consulted always and developer should not only rely on Uganda Wild Life Authority, have the district involved in the choice of Corporate Social Responsibility that the developer may wish to implement and deal with the imbalance of developments in the Oil Producing Districts.

The area Woman Member of Parliament for Nwoya district Hon. Lilly Adong in her submission said she was not happy with the name of the project and proposed it be changed to reflect the culture and traditions of the Project Area.

“Rename it to ‘Tilenge’ instead of ‘Tilenga’ which means a kob jumps over a fly,” said Adong sending the crowd in frenzy.

She also noted that there was need to have assurance on waste management given the sensitivity of the area the resource is located.

“Almost all the operations are in an echo sensitive area, we should be allowed to form a pressure group that will be granted unrestricted access to the operational areas to ensure the developer is following what is in the ESIA,” added Adong.

Hon. Simon Oyet, the Nwoya area Member of Parliament said he was optimistic the Tilenga Project will have far reaching positive impacts if their demands as the Acholi community are incorporated in the ESIA report.

 

“If this is not a mere accountability gathering for the tax payers money, then we demand more as a region,” said Oyet.

He further demanded that the developer invest more in the social services provision and capacity building if the locals are to really benefit.

“Total E&P should be asking themselves how many schools have they constructed in Nwoya, how many scholarships they are offering to the locals, what preparation has it put in capacity building of the masses to supply the industry,” wondered Oyet.

Oyet also made a request to have the Baguba Airstrip upgraded so as to balance development for both Bunyoro and Acholi sub-regions that both lie in the Albertine Grabben.

Other issues raised by many of the participants included the Trans-boundary Conflict between Uganda and DR. Congo, the human-wildlife conflicts that are on the increase in the area, ring-fencing of local content, plan well for alternative livelihoods to avoid the ‘Dutch-Disease’.

Response by Government and Developers

Speaking on behalf of the government, Hon Peter Lokeris allayed fears by the locals and informed them that the Petroleum Authority will have all their concerns dealt with since it is mandated to regulate the sector on behalf of all Ugandans.

He also said the National Oil and Gas Policy has it clearly stipulated on how Oil revenues will be used to transform the country.

“The government planned well for this resource. We have the necessary Policy and legal requirements to address the needs of Ugandans and as Government we shall see that the developer adheres to them to the dot,” Lokeris assured the masses.

Mr. Dozith Abeinomugisha the Director Exploration at the PAU re-affirmed Government’s stand by revealing that the National Content Policy has all the needs of the locals on local content like ring-fencing of certain jobs and services to only Ugandans.

“If you look at the National Content Policy, all the services, and jobs for the locals are clearly stated. That means they developer can only look for an alternative in case there is no one in the country,” said Abeinomugisha.

 

The developer Total E&P said all the issues raised by the public on the ESIA had been all captured in the report detailing the problems and the mitigation measures.

“This study took us 3 years, we have carefully looked at all the issues that have been raised here today and trust me they are all in this ESIA report. I implore you to find time in these remaining days and read through this report,” said Mr.Yves Jean, the Total E&P Representative.

All the issues captured in the two Public Hearings will now be presented to the NEMA by the Presiding Officer in a report that will detail the outcomes of the Hearings and the recommendations to NEMA for further action.

Once NEMA finds that the issues raised deserve consideration, the developer will be asked to integrate them in the ESIA before it is approved to clear the developer to start work on the Tilenga Development Project to usher Uganda on the Development and Production Stage.

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Michael Ntezza http://chimpreports.com <![CDATA[KCCA Launches Traffic Control Center]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177233 2018-11-19T11:00:47Z 2018-11-19T09:44:55Z Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in its ongoing efforts to mitigate traffic congestion in the city, has put in place a traffic control center whose purpose is to ensure proper traffic flow at the various city junctions

This center located at the Kampala City Hall currently covers 12 junctions whose traffic flow will be monitored 24 hours a day via CCTV cameras installed at the junctions.

Speaking at the launch, the KCCA Executive Director Jennifer Musisi Semakula said the cameras monitored in this control room will not only ensure easy traffic flow but will help in ensuring safety for road users.

“Currently we have 40 CCTV cameras installed and fully functioning at different city junctions. These will be used to easily identify any accident if there is, as well as taking necessary steps like informing the police or calling an Ambulance,” she said.

Musisi said the cameras will work without disruption because they have power backups in case of blackouts.

The ED promised that in the coming years, the Authority will install more cameras at 75 junctions which will later be connected to the national CCTV network.

AIGP Steven Kasiima the head of Traffic Police applauded KCCA for this milestone which he says will help police apprehend reckless drivers

“With the help of these cameras we shall just be looking into records in case of any accident and arrest those drivers who always knock people and runaway,” he said.

The first of their kind in Kampala, the smart street lights and the related junctions are interconnected on the superior National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), being managed by the National Information Technology Authority Uganda, that ensures the monitoring team at the Kampala Traffic Control Centre always have remote access to the cameras and junctions.

Speaking at the launch this morning, NITA-U’s Executive Director, James Saaka, congratulated KCCA on this key project.

“It’s our intention to improve service delivery to the citizens using ICT. KCCA is leading the pack in the provision of eGovernment services. We remain committed in growing this partnership.”

The first of their kind in Kampala, the smart street lights and the related junctions are interconnected on the superior National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI), being managed by the National Information Technology Authority Uganda, that ensures the monitoring team at the Kampala Traffic Control Centre always have remote access to the cameras and junctions.

Speaking at the launch this morning, NITA-U’s Executive Director, James Saaka, congratulated KCCA on this key project.

“It’s our intention to improve service delivery to the citizens using ICT. KCCA is leading the pack in the provision of eGovernment services. We remain committed in growing this partnership.”

The currently monitored junctions include Kabira 1 and 2, Kira road Police junction, Fairway junction, Makerere main gate, Junjju Road, Gaddafi road, Kyadondo Road, Sir Apollo Kaggwa road, Nakulabye junction, Bukesa and Mengo SS.

The new control center is a pilot for a bigger project which will be fully implemented in few years to come.

The project is financed by World Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Uganda and the African Development Bank .

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Claver Ndushabandi http://www.chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Belgian of Burundi Origin Falls to Her Death from Top Floor of Kigali Hotel]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177223 2018-11-19T08:37:20Z 2018-11-19T08:37:20Z Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) is investigating circumstances under which a Belgian national of Burundi origin met her death at a hotel in the capital, Kigali on November 17.

Authorities say Olga Mugege, 37, died after leaping from 10th floor of Grande Ubumbwe Hotel in the Central Business District.

“Preliminary investigations show that the deceased was a regular customer and came to the hotel and always came during evening hours,” RIB’s publicist, Modeste Mbabazi was quoted by the Rwandan media as saying.

She said crime scene investigators who arrived at the scene and gathered firsthand information suspect possible suicide.

Mbabazi further said Mugege’s relatives would be engaged to help in investigations.

Friends and relatives of the deceased said they would take keen interest in the case to appreciate the events that preceded Mugege’s demise.

“It’s a big shock to us,” said a relative who spoke to ChimpReports on condition of anonymity citing personal reasons.

The deceased joined Burda East Africa in 2017 as a Project Manager.

She had earlier worked for the Bank of New York Mellon in Brussels as a corporate Actions and Cash Market Expert.

She also worked for almost four years in London as a Foreign Exchange Negotiator. She held a degree in International Trade from EPHEC (Business studies) in Brussels.

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Pamela Amia http://www.chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Mpigi: UTB To Spend Shs. 1 Billion on Beautifying Equator Site]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177224 2018-11-19T08:33:02Z 2018-11-19T08:33:02Z Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) together with the local government of Mpigi District have earmarked Shs 1billion to revamp the Equator site, a leading tourist attraction in the district.

The Equator site in located in Kayabwe, about 72 kilometers from Kampala

According to Ronald Kazibwe the District Commercial Officer, the site attracts 1,300 tourists annually.

Once revamped, he says, this number will be tripled.

“The Equator is the best tourism site in our district and it is high time we modernized it to the best standards. Even other sites near the Equator will be receiving tourists which will help increase the district’s annual revenue and household incomes” Kazibwe said.

Addressing journalists at the site, Kazibwe revealed that the project is expected to be completed next year.

Currently there are 500 traders and businesses near the site that directly earn from the visiting tourists.

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Tourism Board John Ssempebwa said so far the board has secured Shs 180 million to start off the work.

“We want to redesign the Equator to reach the standards of the new generation but we have to conserve its originality and preserve the historical documentation of this natural heritage” Ssempebwa said.

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Claver Ndushabandi http://www.chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Umeme Faces Protests in Uganda over Endless Electricity Outages]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177215 2018-11-19T07:43:41Z 2018-11-19T07:43:41Z The people of Gulu, Northern Uganda, have taken to the streets to protest Umeme’s failure to maintain reasonable supply of electricity in the district.

The demonstration comes against backdrop of dozens of petitions to Umeme to stop the increased load shedding in vain.

A concerned resident in Gulu Town recently wrote to Umeme, saying most businesses and institutions in the area rely on electricity for their operations.

“It is however sad that the supply of power most especially in Gulu is unstable with constant power outages,” said David Ochwo.

“Most small business which wholly depend on power for their operation are ideally being technically driven out of business because of constant blackouts,” said Ochwo, adding, “Those dealing in perishable goods like fresh fish among others are making losses in millions of shillings.”

Police have since deployed heavily in the town to prevent possible chaos.

The residents said the transmission lines remain in a horrible shape as just a drizzle of dark clouds lead to power outages. Restoration of electricity usually takes days, fuelling anger in the community.

“We have the poorest electricity stability in Uganda,” said Shaffi Amuru.

ChimpReports understands that Umeme top officials have been on radio stations to explain the cause of the incessant outages.

Residents said despite sending warnings to Umeme, the company remained aloof to their situation hence planning for riots.

They are also concerned that poor electricity supply will undermine the district’s economic growth hence undermining efforts to create jobs and stimulate trade with neighbours.

Umeme took over power distribution from the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (UEDCL) in a concession on March 1st 2005.

The 20-year concession, which was condemned by whistle blowers and investigated by Parliament – with recommendations for its termination – is due for renewal in March 2025.

Museveni, in a letter dated March 13th, tasked Minister Irene Muloni to explain to him how Umeme’s technical losses still remain as high as 17% yet the company claims to have invested up to $500million in distribution infrastructure to address this problem.

In the run up to the concession signing in 2005, the Auditor General had calculated that Umeme’s losses, both technical (dilapidated infrastructure) and commercial (power theft) would be at 28%.

But according to President Museveni, this figure was hiked to 38% following a meeting between the Umeme investors and a delegation from the Energy Ministry in the US.

In 2009, government instituted the Interim Review of Electricity Tariffs Committee, which was chaired by Gen Salim Saleh.

The committee, among others called for the re-nationalization of EDCL, terming the Umeme deal as “not well thought after.”

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Godfrey Tugume http://chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Kabale Mayor Denies Being “Bribed” By Rugunda]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177193 2018-11-19T07:43:02Z 2018-11-19T07:43:02Z Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha, the Kabale municipality mayor has dismissed accusations from opposition members that he was “bought off” by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

Mr Byamugisha, a member of the FDC said those claiming he quit the opposition party to join the NRM cannot distinguish between development and politics.

He clarified that his connection with Dr Rugunda has not compromised his political stance, but is only strategically meant to facilitate development in Kabale.

He noted that his  friendship with the premier has so far born some fruits, noting for instance that Kabale Municipality was recently included among those to have new markets built by government under the Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement Program (MATIP), even though it initially wasn’t on the list.

The multi-million dollar project is supported by Government of Uganda and the African Development Bank.

“Those saying that NRM and Dr Rugunda have bought me are free to believe what they want. In any case, if he bought be and Kabale benefited, that isn’t bad,” he said.

“But deep in my heart I know that is not the case. People need to know that if you are an elected leader and you are disconnected from government, your people lose out. That’s why there is need for separation of politics and development.” remarked the mayor.

Byamugisha says in the next two years he is only concerned about working for the people of Kabale municipality and not politicking.

Until 2016, Byamugisha was the Kabale district FDC Secretary General.

He however contested on an independent ticket for the mayoral seat, beating the incumbent Dr. Pius Ruhemurana, another FDC member who had earlier defeated him in the primaries.

The mayor was on Friday meeting traders, at Kabale central market to update them on the progress of the demolition and reconstruction of the two markets in the municipality.

The construction of the market is expected to commence in December this year and completed within two years

All the traders in the market were assured of stalls in the new market.

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Chimp Corps http://www.chimpreports.com <![CDATA[MTN Mbarara Run Attracts 1,500 Amidst Heavy Showers]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177206 2018-11-19T06:29:55Z 2018-11-19T06:25:30Z This Sunday morning, thousands of Mbarara residents braved mist, cold and rain showers to take part in the third and last regional run ahead of the much anticipated 15th edition of the MTN Marathon.

In the end Salimo David from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) took the top honours in the men’s 10km run while Ajok Dorcus from Uganda Prisons Athletics Club took top position in the women’s 10km run. It was third time lucky for Salimo David who took part in the MTN Gulu and MTN Mbale runs but finished 5th and 6th respectively.

“I want to take part in either the 10km or 21km run next week at the MTN Kampala Marathon next Sunday” said Salimo David who was buoyed by his win and impressed with his resilience after taking part in three runs in a space of 21 days.

Wardress Ajok Dorcus who was in April this year promoted to Assistant Matron by the Commissioner General of Prisons for having represented Uganda at the Common Wealth Games in Australia 2018 also impressed at the MTN Mbarara run as she warded off stiff competition from Cheptegei Rebecca of UPDF and Achiru Nite of Ndejje.

Winners of All Categories Pose with their cheques at the end

 

Ugandan middle distance runner Dorcas Ajok is not new in the country’s athletics history as she notably took part in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda last year. She is well known in the track events and won gold at the 2016 All Africa University Games held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I came here to look for long distance endurance experience as I prepare for the runs next year,” she said. She also confirmed, like Salimo David, that she will take part in the 10km MTN Kampala Marathon that will take place on Sunday 25th November, 2018.

Winners of the 10km Women Category Pose With their cheques together with UAF Officials

KCCA turned double victors in both the men and women’s 5km run as Chelimo Calvin and Cheko Moi took top honours. Sunday Sarius and Chemutai Vincent from Uganda Police took second and third places in the men’s 5km run while Chelangat Rebecca from Prisons and Chebet Aisha from Arua finished in similar place in the women’s 5km run.

It has been a good outing for the Uganda Police Athletics club who also finished strong in last week’s Gulu Run. Kassim Latigo, a renowned Senior Fitness Instructor from Lakes Gym and Spa took the runners through a warm up session from 6.30am at the MTN Mbarara Run which was attended by a mix of running enthusiasts, family and friends.

On a weekend that saw celebrated sports journalist Andrew Kabuura get introduced to media personality Flavia Tumusiime, many had hoped that a local runner from Mbarara would put icing on the cake by taking a podium position but it was unfortunately not to be as local runners were swept away thanks to stiff competition thanks to visiting runners who came from other regions of Uganda.

Jose Chameleone and King Saha provided the much needed entertainment after a warm down session and prize giving ceremony. At the run, MTN Marathon partners and sponsors Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Stanbic Bank, Huawei Uganda, Vision Group and SPEDAG were present courtesy of their regional executives and representatives.

 

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Godfrey Tugume http://chimpreports.com <![CDATA[Kabale School Closed Over Hygiene]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177187 2018-11-18T15:09:14Z 2018-11-19T05:35:13Z Authorities in the Southern Division of Kabale Municipality have closed down Kigezi Institute of Business Education, Science and Technology.

The school is located in Nyakiharo cell, in Mwanjari ward was shut down due to poor hygienic conditions which officials said fell below the minimum standards of the Ministry of Education.

The school belongs to one Darius Ainembabazi.

The division team led by the Assistant Health Inspector Jonan Munayambazi inspected the premises and established that the School’s lighting was insufficient; it lacked a compound and a fence.

The officials also found no water supply; the classrooms were of insufficient sizes, whereas the three room dormitory was over populated.

It was also discovered that the school has two stance toilets and two bathrooms to cater for both female and male students; lacks dust bins and a kitchen, as food is prepared in the backyard.

James Twinamatsiko the southern Division Principal Assistant Town clerk says that the school has been closed as all the findings the findings were contrary to the requirements of the minimum standards of a school.

 

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Kim Aine <![CDATA[EAC Harmonises Regulations to Boost Regional Seed Trade]]> https://chimpreports.com/?p=177203 2018-11-19T05:32:19Z 2018-11-19T05:32:19Z The East African Community (EAC) legal and policy framework for agricultural development has been established, a move hailed as a great leap forward in realising food security in the region.

The framework is provided for under several key documents; the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, EAC Customs Union, and EAC Common Market Protocol among others.

In particular, Article 45 (3) (b) and (c), of the EAC Common Market Protocol stipulates cooperation in Agriculture and Food Security, especially in plant breeding and promotion of production and distribution of quality seeds.

Further, Article 38 (c) of the EAC Customs Union provides for cooperation in other areas including Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures.

The provisions call for existence not only of a specific harmonized policy to address the seed sub-sector, but also create the dire need for a harmonized legal framework.

Officials said the new legal arrangement would be a catalyst for intra-regional trade as well as a major step towards availability of quality seeds by farmers.

This framework is in conformity with the initiatives to harmonize regional trade in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) including the Africa Food Security Framework of the African Union (AU), and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

However, the regulatory capacity in the EAC to meet both international and regional standards as well as integration of other regional efforts to promote trade is still low.

The EAC policy recognizes the need for appropriate regional legislative and regulatory frameworks for ease of regional trade and enhancement of the partnership.

Currently, the East African Partner States have their own national legislation, regulations, policies, standards and institutional arrangements to facilitate and regulate the seed sector.

However, progress made in putting in place governance instruments for the seed sector varies significantly across the region.

Regional trade

EAC Secretary General, Mr Liberat Mfumukeko said the need for a harmonized EAC seed legislative framework is premised on the desire to promote intra-regional trade as well as access to quality seeds by farmers.

“To a certain extent, harmonized procedures in the region have been developed in collaboration with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and this stimulated the initiatives undertaken by Partner States to start the harmonization process,” he said.

“This has involved a review of their seed policies, and their legislation and institutional framework. Specifically, the differences are reflected in the nature of policies, laws, regulations and registration procedures which essentially hinder movement of seeds across the borders in the region,” he added.

“These differences in policy and regulatory framework in the EAC translate into high costs of doing business in the seed sector. The high costs make it difficult for investors to provide the quantity, quality and validity of seed needed to support an expanding agricultural sector in the region.”

Harmony

A harmonized framework would lead to an efficient mechanism for production, distribution and marketing of seed which would translate into increased access and usage of quality seed.

This would promote regional trade, increase economies of scale, and enhance food security and economic benefits in the region.

The seed industry in all the EAC Partner States comprises of formal and informal seed supply systems with the informal sector contributing a significant proportion of the seed supply.

Thus, officials said, there is need to ensure that drawn policies also focus on ways of improving and harnessing the informal sector to ensure that the quality is maintained or guaranteed.

ChimpReports understands to address these challenges, the Partner States under initiatives spearheaded by the ASARECA have in the past made progress in the development of procedures for the seed sector.

This, however, needs to be complemented by harmonization of seed legislation in the region.

Once successful, this would result in a set of regulations applicable in the region which play a key role in facilitating seed movement and trade as well as improvement of the quality.

The legal framework is expected to encourage investment in the seed business, while increasing access to high quality seeds by facilitating free and safe trade in seed and close collaboration among Partner States in governance of the seed industry.

Specifically, the legal framework will focus on harmonization of variety evaluation, release procedures and registration protocols in the region and harmonization of seed certification.

It will as well lead to synchronisation of phytosanitary measures including import and export documentation; preventing spread of pests of quarantine and non-quarantine importance and harmonization of plant variety protection systems.

Opportunities

There is currently an untapped market for certified seed, taking into account the fact that most of the smallholder farmers still depend on the informal sector as the source of seeds.

This allows opportunities for the private sector to play a greater role in the seed industry since currently, most of the breeding programmes are under the auspices of public institutions and this needs to be complemented by input from the private sector.

Mfumukeko said there was no doubt there is a need to explore opportunities for mechanisms for regional protection of plant varieties, and the presence of multinational seed companies has helped increase quantities of seed available to farmers.

“Partner States are currently in the process of developing or reviewing seed laws and this provides opportunity to incorporate aspects of harmonization. There is an opportunity to establish community wide institutions – research, seed companies, regulatory institutions, etc., as well as an opportunity to pioneer certification of crop varieties that are endemic to the EAC,” he said.

The presence of physical infrastructure – roads, ports (air, water), rail, etc., and diverse agro-ecologies allow for continuous seed production, while the availability of ICT infrastructure eases communication, document processing and dissemination of information.

Constraints

Nevertheless, the seed industry in the region is faced by various constraints which are evident both at the national and regional level.

The institutional framework in some of the Partner States does not provide for existence of a national designated authority responsible for the industry.

The functions are in some cases domiciled in the Ministries responsible for Agriculture which may to an extent impact on the operations and ease of decision making and in undertaking inspection and trials.

This is particularly critical for the process of variety release and issuance of import and export documentation.

In terms of the duality of standard bodies, national standard bodies pose as custodians, and National Designated Authorities (NDAs) as implementers. When it comes to regulatory framework, it is at different levels/stages, particularly in terms of the regulations guiding the technical aspects of the sector, which need to be either developed or reviewed.

There are different variety testing protocols and evaluation periods in the Partner States, and some of the Partner States are yet to acquire membership into the relevant international bodies including UPOV, ISTA and OECD.

This is a major constraint that definitely adversely impacts on the State’s capacity to produce adequate high quality/certified seed and further limits seed trade capacity development.

Other constraints include the inadequate institutional/ legal framework and coordinated response mechanisms to handle emerging technologies and deal with issues.

Of specific interest is the issue of possible introduction of GM seeds where awareness creation about the technology has not been adequate; inadequate funding of seed sector activities in the Partner States limits manpower and infrastructural development, and shortages of seed and therefore prevalence of fake seeds

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