Ugandan farmers under their Umbrella organization, Uganda National farmers Federation have asked government to remove import duty and other taxes on post harvesting handling equipment and facilities.
The President of the Farmers’ Federation Dr.Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga said the removal of taxes will make the equipment and other facilities affordable.
”This will solve the problem of poor post harvest by farmers which is a big challenge in the country.”
“The quality for some of our Agricultural produces especially grain is not good enough. The problem is associated with poor post harvesting handling, many of our farmers lack modern post harvesting handling facilities not because they wish but due to the cost implication associated with them. The government needs to come in by removing taxes imposed on the facilities,” Kamugunga told Journalist at the federation’s Offices in Kampala.
Currently very few farmers have access to value addition equipment and facilities due to the high costs on the market. This is because the government taxes both VAT and Import duty which makes the facilities expensive and inaccessible by farmers and traders.
He explained that the compromising quality of the Uganda grains especially maize on many occasion fail to penetrate the markets in the region especially in the East African community market.
“Kenya used to be the leading destination for Ugandan maize but the country is shifting the market to other countries such as Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia because of the good quality products they have.”
Unless the government puts in strict measures to ensure quality of our produce, we are likely to continue being considered last suppliers of produces, like maize , in addition to buying our maize at low prices, “ he explained.
On the dwindling prices for maize in the Country, the farmers are advising government to review the free market economy policy like what other countries have done by setting up minimum farm gate.
The president explained that whereas Ugandan economy is a liberal one, it is vital that a minimum price should be set below which no one is allowed to buy agricultural produces in the country from farmers in order to help them recover their investment.
The National Publicity Secretary for the Federation Grace Musimami also noted that the government should implement the recently launched Grain Trade Policy to ensure proper post harvesting handling and structured marketing of grains for domestic consumption as well as export market. ”
This will increase competitiveness of Ugandan grains in the regional and International markets respectively.”