The World Bank wants the Ugandan government to pronounce itself on the fate of National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and end the present indecision, which has left many in suspense.
Rashit Pertev, a Senior Agricultural Economist said on Friday that the World Bank just like any other stakeholder in the agricultural sector was keen to know the decision government will make about the future of extension services in the country.
He however explained that while the country has freedom in choosing how to progress with the extension services, World Bank would not fund any project or service related to agriculture should government chose to centralise extension services.
He explained that it would be strange for Uganda that has for long acted as a model of privatising agricultural extension services, to choose to re-centralise it at a time when many countries in the world are opting to involve the private sector in the delivery of agricultural extension services. Pertev emphasized that agricultural extension service would have to remain purely private sector-oriented if it’s to attract funding.
He observed that many areas of agriculture in the country had not received support such as funding except the research and extension prompting NAADS to attempt to carry all the weight of all support expected in the agricultural sector. As a result, he said NAADS has been expected to provide varied services such as rural input, micro financing and often times become political.
The concerns by World Bank come in the wake of debates over the implementation of the project and varied proclamation by political leaders including President Yoweri Museveni.
However, Everest Mulumba, the NAADS spokesperson told Our reporter that the project is on course. He explained that there was likelihood that they would scrap the provision of agricultural inputs and only concentrate on extension and advisory services.
In 2002, government introduced the National Agricultural Advisory Services to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agricultural extension service however; the program has attracted criticism over its implementation.