WEST NILE. Supply of poor cassava cuttings, lack of electricity and water in the newly constructed value addition facilities under Agriculture Cluster Development Program (ACDP) have endured as setbacks that the project faces in West Nile.
While some farmer groups have constructed the value addition facilities with the government funding through ACDP, they may not commence work soon due to the challenges.
These top up on the challenges that farmers face while using E-voucher to effect transactions in payment for inputs that they order from the service providers.
The challenges were presented to minister of state for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Fred Bwino Kyakulaga when he visited West Nile to commission cassava processing facilities under ACDP project in Yumbe, Maracha, Arua and Nebbi districts.
Farmers and local leaders in the sub region also complained of challenges faced through the E-voucher system which is the mode of payment that farmers use in the process of buying farm inputs.
“The E-Voucher is OK, but many of us (farmers) here do not have phones” Ms Eunice Alezuyo, a farmer from Maracha district said. Mr Kasiimu Ejoyi, a former in Yumbe district adds “this year, the program has been locked and if it was not locked, a good number of farmers should have joined”
Minister Bwino Kyakulaga assured local leaders and the farmers that the matter will be addressed by the ministry as ACDP project is one of the projects meant to transform people’s lives alongside the Parish Model.
The target has been to reach out 20,000 farmers in the sub region, out of which less than 10,000 farmers have been enrolled into the ACDP project that started in 2018.
In Maracha district, the cassava cuttings supplied by a contractor based in Kampala identified as MAYIGA is said to have deprived farmers by supplying fake cassava cuttings.
As a result, farmers demanded that they source their own cassava cutting suppliers locally.
To that effect, the minister attributed such irregularities as an issue leading to low enrolment of farmers into the ACDP project and promised that the ministry is going to sort out the issue.
“The most appreciated input has been land and Tarpaulins. The issue with the MAIGAs of this world who come to pick cassava cuttings from the local farmers here in pretext of bringing them from other regions will be dealt with,” Minister Bwino Kyakulaga said.
The project is however registering achievement among the farmers in the region, Mr Grant Odiri, a farmer with Kijomoro Amanya-Ondisi cooperatives, Jamal Muhamad and Kasiimu Ejoyi with Aliamu cooperatives in Yumbe district testified that the sale of cassava cuttings and other cassava products has generated for them income that is changing their lifestyles.
A total of 20,000 farmers have been targeted across the sub region, but less than 50 percent have been enrolled as the first phase of the ACDP project comes to an end by March next year.
Under this project, farmers in West Nile grow Cassava, Rice and Coffee as their enterprise in the respective cooperative organizations where individual farmers pay 33 percent of 450,000 shillings while the government pays for them the 67 percent to implement the project.