Small scale farmers all over Uganda have on September 21 cried out for the allocation of more funding towards the Agricultural sector from the heads of EAC States.
Farmers made their cry during a press conference held at ESAFF Uganda National Secretariat, where all farmer representatives from every region gathered to launch a petition demanding Government to allocate at least 10% of the National Budget to the agriculture sector.
In their address to the media, small scale farmers said by 2050, the population of East African countries in the East African Community (EAC) is most likely to hit 411 million people of which the largest proportion will be young people.
They recognized that the agricultural sector, which is mainly subsistence, employs an average of over 76% of the entire population of the EAC, where by, over 85% are women.
While addressing the media, the farmers noted that if Government improves funding on agricultural sector, it will not only see them address hunger and malnutrition but also other challenges including poverty, climate change among others.
It should be noted that in 2014, EAC Heads of states were part of a meeting held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where African Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted the Malabo declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for shared prosperity and Improved Livelihoods meant to transform the Agriculture sector in Africa and to give CAADP an opportunity to guide agriculture development on the African continent.
Baliraine Hakim, the National Chairperson Esaff Uganda told journalists that Agriculture sector has limited funding on the national budget, yet it is one of the most vital key sectors of Uganda’s economy.
“Agriculture is only allotted 2.9 of the National budget as per financial year 2018/2019. This funding is very low to invest in a very critical sector like Agriculture. As you all know, there is no one who can survive without food, in other words, when there’s no food, there’s no life,” said Baliraine.
Small-scale farmers urged Government to establish strong plans and time-frame to realize the Malabo Declaration as well as the Zanzibar Resolution on Malabo. This they said, should start in the coming 2019/2020 financial year to ensure progressive realization of inadequate public financing into agriculture to the level of 10%.
The Farmers then proceeded to launch a petition, a move which they said they intend to collect over one million signatures demanding EAC Heads of States for four main issues including, speedily and progressively implement of Malabo Declaration in Uganda and all EAC States and make it mandatory (legal requirement) as from 2019/2020 budget to allocate not less than 10 percent of the National budget to agriculture sector.