The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has strongly cautioned the public on the influx of counterfeit agro-inputs.
According to the Ministry, there is an escalating influx of counterfeit agro-inputs including Pesticides, Acaricides, Fertilizers, Seeds, Vaccines among others onto the Market by both Certified and uncertified Suppliers which is directly affecting the National Economy.
The Minister Of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja notes that counterfeit Fertilizers and Seeds were ceased by the Agriculture Police with the MAAIF Enforcement Team in Masaka region in April 2019.
He says four different types of Fertilizers (NPK, CAN, SSP& DAP) and 83 Metric Tons of expired Seeds were impounded.
“The matter was handed over to the Uganda Police Force and the suspects have been apprehended to face the law. Many other similar arrests have been conducted around the country.”
The Livestock Sector, according to the ministry has also been hit by increasing cases of Tick Resistance and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).
“The Ministry made arrangements to procure FMD Vaccines to reduce the disease incidence and processes were concluded with the best bidder to supply 500,000 Dozes.”
Ssempijja notes that FMD incidences escalated in most parts of the country despite increased vaccination which was followed with strict quarantine affecting the farmers in those areas.
“The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries instituted investigations into the possible causes of the escalation of the disease. Preliminary findings allude to counterfeit vaccines and the matter has now been handed over to the Police for further management. The Police will provide more details in due course.”
According to the ministry, the distribution of the vaccines to the farmers has been stopped with immediate effect and the Ministry cold room cordoned off by the police as a preventive measure towards such actions.
The Ministry also reported the matter to the law enforcement agencies who are working together to bring this matter before the courts of law.
According to the ministry, the Government made arrangements to directly buy the vaccines from the manufacturers.
“The Ministry is aware of all livestock farmers that have been victim to this seemingly counterfeit vaccine and will prioritize the delivery of the correct vaccine to these farmers within the next few weeks.”
The Ministry is also developing a traceability system of all the agro-inputs from the factory to the farmers among other initiatives.
“The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries appeals to the general public to join the fight against this vice that is directly attacking our economy by referring any suspected counterfeits to the nearest Police Station or the ministry of agriculture offices for verification.”
MAAIF reiterates its commitment to this fight against counterfeits which is synonymous to fighting economic sabotage given the fact that Uganda is an agrarian economy.
“This Serves as a strong Warning to all those that are involved in or considering their involvement in the supply of counterfeit agro-inputs to desist from the practice as the long arm of the law will catch up with them.”
The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries is committed to transforming the 68% population in subsistence farming into commercial agriculture thereby ensuring food security, Increased household incomes and increased exports.
The agriculture sector, which employs 65% of Uganda’s population and contributes 25% of the GDP, is fundamental to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
The Ministry is committed to the delivery of this aspiration through its mandate to create an enabling environment in the agriculture sector including the development, delivery of national policies, strategies, plans, regulations, standards, laws and enforce them along the value chains of crops, livestock and fisheries.