Government will in the financial year 2013/2014 reform the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) into an extension system under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka today said the other part of NAADS will be turned into a rural agri-business initiative secretariat to disseminate knowledge on how to promote and operate profitable agricultural enterprises. The extension system will work with farmers in the fields and on demonstration farms.
In March this year President Museveni in a statement said NAADS which started up in 2001 had not lived to its expectations and that money allocated to the programme would be redirected towards strengthening Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs).
In the budget speech, Minister Kiwanuka said that over 35,000 farmers directly benefited from provision of improved maize seed, in addition to accessing inputs such as fertilizers, under the commodity approach in the 2012/2013 financial year. Kiwanuka also stated that a total of 13,486 kg of foundation seed for Arabica coffee, beans, maize and rice, were distributed to seed companies and farmer groups under NAADS.
As a way of further improving the Agriculture sector, she announced that the rehabilitation of all the three irrigation scheme of Mubuku, Doho and Agoro is complete. In order to reduce excessive reliance on natural weather for agricultural production efforts to rehabilitate large scale irrigation schemes and promotion of small scale and affordable irrigation technology will be accelerated.
The rehabilitation of the Olweny scheme will commence next year, together with 33 schemes in other districts. Feasibility studies are also planned for the rehabilitation of Atera, Labori, Odina and Kiige irrigation schemes, according to minister Kiwanuka.
In what may come as good news to farmers, government plans to increase the availability of improved seeds for farmers. Government has adopted a concerted approach to ensuring the availability of improved seed varieties and animal breeds.
Building on successes in improved seed varieties and breeds by the research organisations, improved seed and breeds will be multiplied and distributed extensively across the country. This will be implemented with the coordination between the ministries of Agriculture, Local Government and Finance, together with the Uganda Prisons Service.
The Agricultural sector has in total been allocated 394.4 billion shillings. An additional 9.2 billion has been given to strengthen the Fisheries Department in enforcing fishing regulations and standards.
However, this comes as bad news for agriculturists who have been pushing for a 6 percent increment considering in 2012 Agriculture received 585 billion which indicates a decrease of 191.6 billion shillings.
The total budget for the Financial Year 2013/14 is 13.16 trillion shillings. Kiwanuka allocated close to 2.4 trillion shillings to roads and transport sector, while 1.8 trillion shillings went to education. The two sectors also took the biggest chunk of the budget last year. Out of a total of 11.15 trillion shillings in the 2012/2013 financial year budget, Kiwanuka allocated Education 1.669 trillion shillings, representing 17 percent of the total envelope. The Road sector took 1.6 trillion shillings.
Domestic sources of funding are projected to contribute 10.5 trillion representing 81.1% of the total budget for the year. Of this, Uganda Revenue Authority will collect taxes amounting to 8.48 trillion, while 275 billion shillings will come from Non-Tax Revenues. The other local sources include issuing of Government securities worth 1.04 trillion shillings among others.
Total external financing of the Budget will amount to 2.6 trillion shillings or20 percent of the total projections. Budget support comprises of 213 billion while Project aid amounts to 2.44 trillion.