The weakest point in our chain is not necessarily at the inspector level, it is at the agricultural extension level at the district local government level. We have begun recruitment of extension services providers and are 50 percent of our target. Over this financial year we shall reach 68 percent.
If at the farmer level, the field level, the farmer is aware, is trained, is assisted, is able to identify what would be the barriers to trade, to export of fresh produce, it is very easy for the farmer to minimise losses at that level with the help of extension staff.
We are organising the farmers, especially the fresh produce growers to have some kind of industry regulations – peer pressure at farm level.
At the export level – at the exit port – having two inspectors at Entebbe Airport per day, for example, is more than adequate if at farm level they were working in tandem and reducing the risk. It is the question of reducing the risk. We will never reach the zero interception.
These remarks were made by Permanent Secretary Vincent R. Rubarema on 29th August 2016 during the Uganda Joint Agricultural Sector Annual Review (JASAR) that was held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala in Uganda.
One of the events at the JASAR was a press conference among which the panellists were the Minister of Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) – Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja, Hon. Syda Bbumba, Hon Joy Kabatsi, Mr. Rubarema, Other senior government officials – including heads of directorates within MAAIF, and Mr. Charles Owach of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO Uganda) who represented Government of Uganda (GOU) ‘Development Partners’.
Mr. Rubarema’s remarks were in response to the following three questions which journalists asked the panellists:
- Minister in your speech you mentioned that you are looking at agriculture contributing four billion dollars. You mention a list of crops, am wondering, you did not say what you are going to do. Are you going to provide seeds?
- I would like the Minister to give me specific interventions in terms of innovations that he thinks can mitigate the scarcity of jobs in this country at present.
- You mentioned the 4 billion dollars, but there is a concern right now about horticultural products. That the Ministry of Agriculture has only two inspectors and the 50 plus exporters are not having their products verified in a timely manner. What is the position of the Ministry ahead of the EU Review?