The Uganda government has again ignored calls to increase funding to the country's agriculture sector, disappointing majority of the public.

The budget allocation to agriculture as a share of the national budget remains low in financial year 2013/14, at 3.4 per cent(Ush403.1bn) of the national budget.

Public spending on agricultural sector in Uganda is still too low to meet the country's commitment to the Maputo Declaration of 10pc.

The Economic Policy Research Centre, during a national consultative meeting on June, urged government to increase funding for agriculture and at least honour its commitment to the Maputo Declaration.

The budgetary allocations to the agricultural sector over ten years (2001/02 to 2011/012) have generally fluctuated between 3 and 5 per cent. And most funds are disbursed as small discrete projects whose contribution is not impact and nor sustainable.

In the financial year 2010/11, the budget allocation to agriculture sector was only five per cent and this reduced to 4.5 per cent in 2011/12. In the year 2012/2013 the sector was allocated only 3.2 per cent.

Yet agriculture continues to play a critical part of the economy. For instance, the sector employs about 66 per cent of Uganda's total labour force. It not only generates incomes and a livelihood for the majority of Ugandans, but has a great potential to transform the economy.

But it is not understood why government has reduced funding to agriculture yet during last year, the agricultural sector output grew by 1.4 per cent, improving from a modest 0.8 per cent the previous year.

The recovery in agricultural production was reportedly driven by a bumper harvest and favorable prices, which signaled the potential of food for household security and incomes for most Ugandans and the region.

However, in a speech read by the Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka on June 13, government will continue supporting research, seed multiplication and certification, and disease control.

The Minister identified the other key interventions as provision of extension services and support for agro-processing to agricultural produce.
In addition, government will continue focusing on ten key food security and household income commodities that include maize, beans, coffee, market fruits and vegetables, rice, bananas, fish, dairy and beef cattle.

Government will continue to prioritize the commodity approach by ensuring availability of improved seeds, planting, breeding and stocking materials and supporting interventions that foster investment in water for production.

Government also plans to reform the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAADs) to create a single spine extension system aligned to the relevant Directorates in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The Finance Minister said government would promote and support the use of irrigation and invest in a number of irrigation schemes across the country to increase agriculture production and productivity.

After all these interventions, Kiwanuka projected, growth in agriculture would improve as a number of cash crops recover from their weak performance in 2012/13.

She said that growth of cash crops would exceed six percent up from the 3.9 percent in 2012/13.

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