ACDP: Parliament directs Ministry of Agriculture to investigate none payment of farmers

The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among has directed the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to investigate claims of non-payment of farmers under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP).

Anita Among said agriculture is the backbone of the country and non- payment of farmers causes a gap in the economy.

“The under absorption of funds by the ministry and the rigidity therein by the Permanent Secretary is affecting the whole country. Why should a PS undermine the minister?” Among asked.

Among’s directives follows complaints from farmers from the Lango sub-region who are demanding money from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries. Their concern was raised on the floor of Parliament by Erute North Member of Parliament, Jonathan Odur.

“The ministry contracted a number of farmers from Lira, Aleptong, Dokolo and part of Kaberamaido to supply them with cassava cuttings. Since last year, the farmers have not received their payments yet they supplied the cuttings,” he said.

Odur says, many of the farmers are wallowing in abject poverty yet they have their money with the government.

“These farmers have children that have failed to go back to school; some have died due to lack of funds to pay hospital bills and they cannot afford other basic needs,” Odur says.

According to Odur, the ministry has money but is not willing to pay the farmers for their produce.

“I have learnt that the ministry has money because this project is funded by the World Bank, but the money is lying idle on an account. Why don’t they pay the farmers?” Odur asked.

Hon Maurice Kibalya, (NRM, Bugabula County South) said that the Permanent Secretary is reluctant to make the payments without carrying out due diligence.

“The PS is the former commandant of Kyankwanzi and he categorically told us that he will not make any payments until he has done his own investigations to rule out ghost farmers,” Kibalya said.

The government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries has in recent years been using locally based farmers to supply them with farm inputs including cassava cuttings, seeds among others under the Agricultural Cluster Development Program(ACDP).

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