NEBBI. Local leaders from the West Nile region have expressed fear over the mistrust by farmers on Agricultural Cluster Development Project (ACDP) due to the use of the electronic voucher (E-voucher) system.

Speaking during the ACDP update on multi-stakeholders’ platform meeting in Nebbi district headquarters on Thursday, local leaders noted that farmers from the region have expressed mistrust on the enrolment exercise of the E-voucher system by United Bank of Africa (UBA) staffs, saying the process seems to be fraudulent.

The leaders also expressed concern that most of the farmers have very little confidence in the E-voucher system which is being used in collecting funds and enrolling the farmers for the ACDP by UBA staff who don't even have branches in the region. (UBA has a branch in Arua).

According to Mr Rashid Kawawa, the Yumbe district production officer, as leaders from West Nile, much is still needed in mobilising and creating awareness for farmers in the region if they are to accept the ACDP E-voucher system for the project to succeed.

But the Nebbi district secretary for production, Ms Doreen Clair Nimungu urged leaders to encourage farmers to adopt the system since it is good in protecting them from being cheated.

“I know this system is new and the farmers are right to mistrust it but as leaders, we should encourage them to be positive about it,” she added.

In a related development, the Maracha district chairperson, Mr Lawrence Adiga appealed to the farmers to consider shifting their mindset from subsistence to commercial agriculture by embracing the E-voucher system if they are to identify and access farming services online individually.

The ACDP is a government programme undertaken by the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries with support from the International Development Association.

The project which targets marketable crops like maize, beans, cassava, rice and coffee commodities in the districts of Arua, Yumbe, Maracha and Nebbi is aimed at improving farm productivity in the region.