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Kitgum farmers decry exclusion from Nusaf-3 procurement procedure

A farmer displays a sack of sim sim seeds that was supplied by Equator seeds Ltd to farmers in Labongo Amida Subcounty undertaking NUSAF3 project.

Kitgum, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  Farmers in Labongo Amida Sub County, Kitgum district have protested the exclusion from independently sourcing for service providers for a project being implemented under the Third Northern Uganda Social Action Fund- NUSAF-3.

The group comprising of 60 farmers under Abilgiri Watershed received 70 million shillings last month to undertake tree planting, block farming, community access road opening, sim sim and cassava planting.

They, however, accuse the Nusaf Desk officer in the district for flouting the project guidelines by centralizing procurement processes instead of localizing it with the group project management and procurement committees.

Richard Kisuggi, the Chairperson of Abilgiri A Group undertaking sim sim and Cassava farming says the group is currently stuck with 60 hectares of land opened for implementing the project.

He alleges that the NUSAF Desk officer, David Oyok last week attempted to coerce him and the secretary of the group into signing a Local Purchase Order [LPO] document for procurement but they rejected on grounds that the group has the powers of procurement. 

The group members who were still waiting to get authorization for procurement have however been surprised with the delivery of a total of 240 kilograms of sim sim seeds.

Uganda Radio Network understands that all the four groups selected for the project had no agreement with Equator Seeds Ltd management for the supply of the sim sim seeds valued at Shillings 9,000 a kilogram. In the local market, organic sim sim cost between shillings 4,500 and 5000 per Kilogram.

Walter Kinyera, another aggrieved farmer believes the supplied sim sim seeds were easily procured by Oyok with signatories of farmers who were tricked into signing an LPO form before receiving any training in May this year.

He notes that the group has also been stopped from contracting their supplier for supply ox-plough and cassava cuttings alleging that NUSAF desk officer says he will solely handle the matter. 

Labongo Amida, the Sub-county LC3 Chairperson Wilfred Nyeko says they have resolved that the farmers should immediately return the sim seeds supplied by Equator Seeds to pave way for an independent audit. 

Oyok declined to comment on the matter when contacted in a telephone interview saying he was busy.

Speaking at a meeting with the aggrieved farmers on Monday, Gaston Billy Graham, Kitgum District Vice Chairperson says the matter will be handled administratively.

Nusaf3 funded by World Bank seeks to provide effective income support to build the resilience of poor and vulnerable households in Northern Uganda.

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