The Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economics Development is preparing to table a supplementary budget of up to Shillings 300 billion to fund the extensive food growth project with the aim of fighting food insecurity in the country.
As a means of eradicating food insecurity, the government adopted the Shillings 300billion project to grow 114,219 acres of maize, 59,900 acres of soya, 22,810 acres of beans, and 2,720 acres of sorghum starting this season up to the first season of next year. The Minister of Agriculture, Animals Industries and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze told media in a telephone interview that the processes for the implementation of this project are underway.
He revealed that the ministry has already identified private partners to work alongside the participating government agencies, adding that they are still in talks with the ministry of finance to provide funding for the project. “We are still engaging the ministry of finance on the needed resources. Nothing yet has come in” he stated
According to Tumwebaze, they have identified private farmers mainly from Nwoya district where there are still large tracts of land as key partners to implement the project.
To implement the project, government agencies will work with private farmers. Uganda prison services will work on 50,000 acres, UPDF 10,000 acres, National Enterprise Corporation 5,280 acres, veterans 4,707 acres, NARO 10,000 acres, and NAGRIC 30,000 acres whereas the private farmers will contribute 314,000 acres.
While announcing the cabinet’s decision early this month, Chris Baryomunsi, the information minister said that it is a shame for a country with such arable land to have its citizens dying of hunger, adding that it is against this background that the cabinet decided to take on the project.
He added that government agencies participating in this project will be supported through a grant and the private farmers will be provided with interest-free loans to invest in the project. Apollo Munghinda, the principal communications officer at the ministry of finance says that this project is among the government’s priorities and has to be funded.
He however says that since this money was not part of the budget, it is among the supplementary government is soon tabling before parliament.
Statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that as of July, the Karamoja region at 41 percent, suffers the highest level of food insecurity, followed by Teso at 21.4 percent, Acholi and West Nile sub-regions at 19.4 percent, Buganda at 17.7 and the western 4.2 percent. Reports have shown that in the Karamoja region up to 900 people have lost their lives due to hunger in the past 3 months at least.