The government agreed to release Shs30 billion for the supply of seedlings to coffee and tea farmers, said Finance Minister, Hon. Matia Kasaija, has said.
“We will give the money to the Uganda Coffee Development Authority and the National Agricultural Advisory Services according to the budget.
I need to check with the Treasury, but we will release the money as soon as possible,” Kasaija said.
He made the guarantee by making a statement on the supply of coffee and tea seedlings during the plenary session on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.
However, he clarified that the demand for seedlings is 93 billion shs and that the release to be made in this fiscal year does not include the excess of Shs60 billion.
“The money in the budget is not enough to cover all the seedlings in the nurseries.
An additional Shs 60 billion is needed to be paid in the next two financial years,” Kasaija said.
He said that the additional supply of seedlings will be done through the Savings and Credit Banks under the Parish Development Model (PDM).
He explained that until fiscal year 2021/2022, government policy had been for the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA) and the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) to purchase seedlings from certified coffee and tea nursery operators.
The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Frank Tumwebaze said that the Ministry will ensure that the seedlings are supplied, once authorization is given.
“We have gained a step, the Minister of Finance has allowed the supply of seedlings, even if there is no money, as long as the Minister of Finance and the Permanent Secretary and the Secretary of the Treasury write and authorize the supply, it will be carried out,” he said.
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture, together with the Ministry of Finance, will work on modalities on the verification of coffee growers and suppliers.
“We will verify who has been supplied so that you do not come and tell us that air was supplied.
Treasury is tight, you have to account for every penny that is paid.
Verification should be left to the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Tumwebaze.
The Vice President, Thomas Tayebwa, called on the Ministers to expedite the supply of seedlings, taking into account the rainy season that ends in a few months.
“What we need is the seedlings, then you will pay these people.
The pressure is based on the fact that the rains are not long in coming.
We want you to authorize the responsible entities according to the allocated funds and then start the process,” Tayebwa said.
He also advised the Minister of Finance to properly handle the supply of seedlings that were not budgeted for in the 2022/2023 fiscal year budget.
Opposition leader Mathias Mpuuga acknowledged the limited funding but called for proper implementation of the 2022/2023 fiscal year budget.
“The demands of our people are legitimate.
We can agree to work with what is available, we will support it.
We ask you to move decently, the government must move according to plan.
Stick to the budget and we won’t demand more,” Mpuuga said.