In line with the National Development Plan III, government is running several programmes with the intention to move more people into the money economy through increased agricultural production and productivity.
In the past few months, however, government has noted a rise in concern regarding the efficacy of agrochemicals and acaricides as well as their impact on the economy.
On that background, Hon Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), has appointed a special committee to address the lingering issues about the effectiveness of agrochemicals and animal health products in the country. The committee members are eminent persons with significant experience to carry out the task at hand.
While announcing the committee on July 19 at the Uganda Media Centre, he noted that there are several questions that need to be addressed.
“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 is an issue of disease resistance against the available drugs? Or is it a combination of some or all the above?” he wondered. “We need to know and respond appropriately in a precise and concise manner. The committee will identify and assess the problems on to of proposing viable interventions towards the issues of quality and the regulatory frameworks of agro chemicals and agro-inputs.”
Prof. John David Kabaasa will chair the 11-member committee and will be deputized by Dr. Eve Kasirye Alemu whereas Dr. Stevens Kisaka is the secretary. Committee members include Dr. Jullian Omalla, Mrs. Beatrice Byarugaba, Dr. John Nuwagaba and Mr. Hudda Mahmood. Others are Mr. Tayebwa Rutamwebwa, Dr. Patrick Vudriko, Ms. Flora Kiconco and Dr. Ben Ssekamatte.
The committee, which has a timeframe of 90 days to complete the task, will be supported a secretariat team of Dr. Peter Beine, the acting executive director of NAGRC& DB and Mr. Fred Mayanja from the ministry while Ms. Charlotte Kemigyisha, the ministry’s Public Relations Manager will offer communication support.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Prof. Kabaasa said that the team is honored to be considered and promised they are going to work diligently to address the task at hand.
COMMITTEE TERMS OF REFERENCE
The committee will study and profile the various agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs and their various sources that are available on the market in Uganda.
The committee will also acquaint itself with the supply chain of these products with a view to establish existing gaps and loopholes in policy, regulatory frameworks and usage.
Furthermore, the committee will inquire into the forms of complaints and their probable root causes regarding the quality of these products right from the farmers and other stakeholders in the entire value chain.
After studying and reviewing the appropriateness of the current government policy, institutional mandates and regulatory frameworks for the products, the committee will make recommendations on the necessary reforms that government needs to undertake in addressing the identified gaps in a sustainable manner.
Upon completion of the report, the ministry shall formulate a government white paper with clear policy and regulatory reforms that will help to address the identified gaps for cabinet discussion and consideration.