The Economic Policy Research Centre has asked government to begin licensing only credible suppliers of agriculture inputs.

A senior researcher at the think tank has also proposed that licensed firms dealing in planting and stocking materials be compelled to work closely with agricultural research institutions.

"Any other firm trading in planting and/or stocking materials but not licensed to trade in agriculture inputs should beunder appropriate laws enacted for this purpose," said Mr Lawrence Bategeka during the National Agriculture Forum on June 6 in Kampala.

There is growing concern that the majority of agro-inputs on the market in Uganda are counterfeit. It is believed that 60 per cent of chemicals and 20-30 per cent of seed sold in several outlets is not genuine.

Because majority of farmers cannot differentiate between the genuine and counterfeit products, they innocently buy the fake products and at high prices.

This partly accounts for why farmer yields are still low despite government effort to increase the yields. This has also discouraged many farmers and thus affecting their livelihood.

"Because of fake agriculture inputs some farmers loose the entire harvest," said Bategeka.

Poor enforcement of standards and less punitive laws have combined to make it easy for fake seed dealers to rip unsuspecting farmers of millions of shillings.

It is believed that seeds, seedlings, pesticides, fertilizer, and stocking materials are fake partly because of lack an effective regulatory system.

But also most importantly agriculture inputs on the Ugandan market are largely fake due to liberalization.

kazcharlie@yahoo.com

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