Uganda Veterinary Association applauds minister for timely intervention
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Frank Tumwebaze has today named a committee of Ugandan experts to examine the frequent outcry of farmers and other farming stake-holders regarding the quality and efficacy of animal and crop drugs and other inputs in the control and fight against diseases.
The committee will be chaired by Prof John David Kabasa, the Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University. Others are Dr. Eve Kasirye Alemu vice chairperson, Dr. Stevens Kisaka secretary, and Dr. Jullian Omalla, Beatrice Byarugaba, Dr. John Nuwagaba, Tayebwa Rutamwebwa, Dr. Ben Ssekamatte, Flora Kiconco and Dr. Patrick Vudriko members.
The team will assess the persistence of drug related problems, including the prevalent drivers and propose viable interventions towards the issues of quality and the regulatory frameworks of agro chemicals and agro-inputs. The team will be supported by a Secretariat at the Ministry who will include technical officers at the Ministry and relevant agencies.
“Whereas application of agrochemicals in agriculture has several benefits which range from yield increase of agricultural crops and soil fertility to pest management, crop protection and increased productivity in the livestock subsector, over the past decade, there have been growing concerns on the low levels of efficacy of some of the available agrochemicals,” Tumwebaze said as he named the team today.
He added, “This prompts the question – what is the problem? Is the problem the quality of drugs because of weak government regulation? (are fake drugs being dumped onto our market?). Is it poor application by farmers? or it’s an issue of disease resistance against the available drugs? Or is it a combination of some or all the above? We need to know and respond appropriately in a precise and concise manner.”
Tumwebaze said, answers to these questions will help the Ministry fulfil its mission to transform the sector from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture.
The Uganda Veterinary Association (UVA) applauded the Minister for appointing the committee, saying it will help resolve some of the issues in their sector.
“We welcome the appointment of this committee and we hope its findings will go a long way into solving farmers outcry over fake products in the market and bring back the regulation of veterinary drugs to MAAIF. We are confident of the capacity of the team appointed by the minister and we applaud the minister for this decision,” said UVA General Secretary Dr Boniface Obbo.
Increasing Agric production
In his statement earlier, Minister Tumwebaze stated that Uganda’s Agro Industrialization Program has six key objectives that include increasing agricultural production and productivity and improving post harvest handling and storage of agricultural products.
Others are Increasing Agro-processing and value addition; Increasing Market Access and Competitiveness of agricultural products in domestic and international markets; Increasing mobilization, access and utilization of agriculture finance and ; Strengthening institutional coordination for improved service delivery.
He said that in line with government’s program to move more people into the money economy through increased agricultural production and productivity, the discussion on the efficacy of agrochemicals has taken centre stage in the public domain over the past few months.