Government injects Shs 408m for the construction of post-harvest storage facilities in Soroti

SOROTI – The government through the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has injected Shs 408, 293,723 for the construction of post-harvest storage and value addition facilities in Soroti district.

The construction of post-harvest, storage and value addition infrastructure is being done under the Agricultural Cluster Development Program (ACDP) meant to support farmers undertaking bulking, value addition and collective marketing of quality produce for better prices and thus realize better incomes.

It’s being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries with support from the World Bank in 57 selected districts.

The project also supports participating districts to make improvements on existing farm access roads so as to eliminate key choke points that impede the flow of farm inputs and produce from production centers to storage or value addition centers and markets.

Soroti district is under cluster five (5) which includes the districts of Kumi, Serere and Soroti.

Abraham Ekwaru, the district Communications Officer said, ACDP is specifically targeting organised farmer groups and cooperatives which aggregate farmer produce and carry out common marketing.

He told theCooperator that the project is supporting three farmers cooperatives in the district.

The cooperatives include; Amoru-Amoroto Multipurpose Cooperative Society SACCO in Awaliwali sub-county, Awoja Rural Producer Organisation in Aukot sub-county and Community Link for Development from Arapai sub-county.

According to Ekwaru, the construction sites for three storage facilities have already been handed over to respective contractors and they are expected to commence the construction works very soon.

The construction of a storage facility for Awoja Rural Producer Organisation was awarded to Frahah Amuria Enterprise Ltd at a cost of Shs104, 626,860.

Junior Holdings Uganda Ltd was awarded the contract for a storage house for Community Link for Development Organisation storage facility at Shs103, 994,399; while the construction of Amoru-Amoroto Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd’s storage facility is awarded to Sure Friends Civil and Agro Input Consultant Ltd at a cost of Shs92, 505,320.

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries has already disbursed this money to the bank accounts of the benefiting farmer cooperatives.

Ekwaru told theCooperator that the post-handling facilities are particularly targeting cassava and rice which are two major traditional cereal crops grown by the farmers under the three cooperatives.

“The storage facilities once completed are projected to store about 220, 250 and 300 metric tons of produce respectively,” said Ekwaru.

According to him, the facilities will act as a motivating factor for farmers to increase the production of cassava and rice in their respective cooperatives.

Ekwaru added that the storage facilities will also have post-handling and value addition equipment and this will help improve the quality of cassava flour and rice.

Rose Tino, who is the Chairperson, Works Committee Soroti district cautioned the beneficiaries against misusing the funds but to instead use them for the intended purpose.

She explained that as district leaders, they shall not tolerate any abuse of these funds by the grant beneficiaries.

Tino also warned contractors undertaking the construction works against doing shoddy work.

“As a district we want contractors to do quality work. Our technical teams from the district and the sub-counties will always carry out routine monitoring of the construction works to ensure that there is value for money in the works executed,” she added.

According to her, contractors must carry out their work professionally while ensuring quality and complete them in the set time frame or face termination of their contracts.

David Odeke, the Chairperson Amoru-Amoroto Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd is grateful to the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) for supporting them with a post-harvest handling facility.

He said that the construction of the storage facilities for organised farmers in the district has been long overdue.

“We have been trying to lobby from the district and NGOs to construct for us a storage facility for our cooperative in vain, but I’m happy that God has finally answered our prayer, a reason I’m extremely happy,” said Odeke.

He further encouraged farmers to embrace growing cassava in a large scale so as to enhance their income.

Sharon Mary Anyait, the Councilor representing Awoja parish at Aukot sub-county and a member of Awoja Rural Producer Organisation is optimistic that this facility will become a marketing center where the sorting, grading, cleaning and bagging will be best done.”

She added that with the storage facility in place, farmers would now be able to hold out for good prices for their produce, which would mean improved incomes.

Meanwhile, Enyaku James Michael, the Soroti district Production Officer, urged farmers in rural areas to embrace availability of grants and other micro projects under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP) in order to move from subsistence to commercial farming.

He said farmers should change their mindset from farming for “the stomach” to farming for “the pocket.”

‘Although ACDP funds have been disbursed to community farmer organizations for the implementation of matching grants in all the 12 clusters, the farmers are still hesitant to embrace the project despite numerous sensitisations,” Enyaku said.

How Agricultural Cluster Development Program (ACDP) Works.

Through ACDP, registered farmers are enabled to access critical farm inputs and equipment for post-harvest handling at subsidised costs met using E-Voucher management system that links registered farmers to pre-qualified, certified agro-input dealers.

Through the subsidy, farmers acquire inputs in a manner that allows them to utilise them effectively with commitment.

In the first season, the farmer contributes 33% of the cost of inputs and the 67% is provided by the government while in the second season, the farmer contributes 50% which attracts a 50% contribution by the government.

In the third season, the farmer makes a 67% contribution while the government contributes 33%.

By the fourth season, with training in best practices of agriculture and agribusiness enterprise management as well as enhanced access to markets, the farmer is expected to be in position to run a self-sustaining enterprise.

However, on ground investigations by theCooperator indicate that the farmers are finding it challenging to transit from one cycle to the next due to limited information on the best practices of the ACDP project.

This slow transition according to them affects the attainment of the project development objective.

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Ministry of Education investigates alleged corruption at Gulu College of Health Sciences

GULU – The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Technology has commenced investigations on alleged bribery, corruption and mismanagement of funds at Gulu College of Health Sciences.

The investigations come following a week long demonstration by the students against the new fee policy.

The Commissioner Health Education and Training in the Ministry of Education disclosed in an interview that the investigations into the allegations had kicked off.

However, she did not indicate the timeframe of the investigations but noted that the Ministry is yet to establish the facts about the matter that has disorganized the school since May this year.

“We are looking to address this problem once and for all, but what we need is to find out what has gone wrong before the school can be fully reopened,” Dr. Safinah explained.

In the new fee structures, the privately sponsored students are required to pay Shs 2.5 million, an increment of Shs 200,000 from the previous academic years.

Meanwhile, the government sponsored students are subjected to pay Shs1.6 million as opposed to Shs1.4 million in the last academic years.

The school has a population of 947 medical students; however, each student is subjected to pay Shs 200,000 for sanitizers which amount to Shs 189.4 million per semester.

The management has also levied a cost of Shs 50,000 on each student for DSTV subscription and up to Shs 47.3 million is collected from the students.

Whereas the School only has two DSTV outlets, one installed in the main Campus and another in Laroo Campus whose subscription and maintenance costs the college less than Shs 5 million per semester.

The school has also continuously been collecting Shs100,000 from each student for an annual operational cost of the bus.

The school equally collects Shs 40,000 from each student and it amounts to Shs 37.88 million to pay for 6 security guards where each of them according to the pay record gets Shs180,000 as monthly salary.

While the Ministry is concerned about the accountability of the funds collected from the students, the new fees structure is also subjected to query.

In the new policy, according to the circular, the government sponsored students are required to pay Shs1.47 million which is an increment of Shs 200,000 shillings from the previous academic years.

The new fees for privately sponsored students rose from Shs 2.3 million to Shs 2.5 million, the variation that is far wider than from other medical institution and colleges.

While the new fee policy has paralysed Gulu College of Health Sciences, at Mbale College of Clinical Officers, the government sponsored students pay Shs 883,400 while private students pay Shs1.6 million.

At Fort Portal College of Health Sciences, the government sponsored students are required to pay between Shs 800, 000 to Shs 868,400 while private students pay between Shs1.8 million to Shs1.1 million for both Diploma and Certificate Courses.

However, while the school remained closed, the Acholi Parliamentary Group visited the Institution for a fact-finding mission on the numerous alleged corruption scandals at the college.

The preliminary investigations by the team have established a report on bribery and mismanagement of the funds collected from the students and the security organs are alleged to have been involved in the scandals.

The Member of Parliament for Kilak South, Gilbert Olanya, disclosed in a recent meeting that the Shs1.2 million was wired to the Security Agency to facilitate them to help put down the demonstration, the support he says was taken as bribe that the management needs to account for.

“We have enough evidence of mismanagement of the funds collected which we shall table to Parliament for resolution,” Olanya further disclosed.

John Amos Okot, the area Member of Parliament for Agago North Constituency revealed that the committee will institute investigations on the allegations.

Denis Odwong Odongpiny, the Resident City Commissioner (RCC), Gulu City has declined receiving any financial support from the college as a bribe.

“I have seen more money than what you are talking about and I don’t have any knowledge that any of the security personnel have received any money from the college for whatever reason,” Odongpiny told journalists at Northern Uganda Media Club.

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Gulu constructs new road to link farmers to South Sudan market

GULU – Gulu district is constructing a 17 km road to link farmers in Awach sub-county to a bigger market in the neighboring South Sudan.

The road worth Shs 165 million is expected to be completed in the next two months.

It will stretch from Awach-Patiko via an already existing road in Owoo sub-county to Pabbo sub county to join the Gulu-Juba highway.

Opiyo Christopher Ateke, the Gulu district Chairperson said, the district is partnering with Rhino Star Construction Company Limited to construct the road.

Opiyo said that, “Farmers have been complaining that they are spending too much money on transport to access the market in South Sudan. When the road is complete, farmers will no longer have to go through Gulu City to access South Sudan.”

“Farmers will just cross to Patiko through Pawel Angany to Pabbo then to South Sudan instead of going through Gulu City which is expensive,” he said.

Through the new road, farmers will also easily access Elegu border market which attracts traders from various neighboring countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia among others.

Elegu, located approximately 105 kilometers north of Gulu City is an international border between Uganda and South Sudan.

Gulu district administrative headquarters was in July 2020 relocated to Awach sub-county after Gulu Municipal Council was elevated to a city.

Public transport from Awach to Gulu City costs Shs 15,000 on a boda-boda and about Shs 10,000 in a taxi while Gulu City to Elegu border town is Shs 20,000.

Acen Agnes, a farmer in Awach sub-county says she has been afraid to venture into selling her goods at Elegu border town because of the transport costs.

“I always rely on buyers who come to our village with trucks to buy produce from farmers because I don’t want to incur more costs on transport but when this new road is completed, I will transport my goods to Elegu and also earn more money for my produce,” she said.

Acen majorly grows beans, maize and soya beans to pay school fees for her five children.

Acen is a member of Awach Improved Housing Co-operative Union.The group is currently using their proceeds from agriculture to build better housing for members.

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Parish chiefs to lead in setting agenda for community development planning

Government Chief Whip and Ruhinda Constituency Member of Parliament, Hon. Thomas Tayebwa has said, Parish Chiefs will take the lead role in designing the community development agenda under the Parish Development Model (PDM).

Previously, money would come to the district and be channelled to the sub-counties where officials would make decisions about projects in remote parishes; this is different with the parish model.

Tayebwa said, the central government expects that by giving power to local policy makers, it will shape rural economy by focusing on their competitive advantages. He said people will be making decisions themselves.

“People should know that the government has stopped giving free things. Like the Emyooga fund, where you borrow and pay back, people who will borrow money under PDM have to pay back to the community,” Tayebwa said.

Tayebwa added that just like the Emyooga fund, PDM fund is also a revolving fund that will help communities improve their household income and eradicate poverty.

Recently, about 30 legislators visited one of the model farms in Rwengaju sub-county Kabarole district belonging to Richard Nyakana, who has utilized one acre by putting up different enterprises, to learn from his success.

Tayebwa said, since this money will be controlled and revolving within the community, it should be given to people who are prepared with the already setup projects.

He said under this model, each parish will be given a minimum of Shs 100m starting the next financial year for five years.

“People have been complaining that we sit in Kampala and plan for them but this time you will be involved in planning. Our work now is giving you money and you plan for it,” he said.

He appealed to fellow members of parliament not to get involved in the implementation of PDM but rather do the supervision part and their involvement will be at the district level since they are ex-officials in their respective district councils.

The Member of Parliament representing Kashari North, Hon. Bazil Bataringaya said, for the PDM to be effective, in each parish there should be a model farmer/demonstration farm where others can copy from.

“As Members of Parliament, we have come from Kampala to see how Nyakana has managed to utilize one-acre piece of land by putting up different enterprises but someone from my constituency Kashari or other regions cannot manage to come here,” Hon. Bataringaya noted.

He said this will make it easy for farmers to learn from their fellows and practice it at their own farms.

Hon. Bataringaya also noted that government should also look at different enterprises for different regions or parishes where they can do well.

“Just like for Emyooga, the government should at least look at different parishes specializing in different enterprises which are within their reach. For example, one parish can deal in piggery, another one in poultry, another in cattle, like that,” he said.

He however noted that for farmers to access market, the government should ensure roads are worked on for farmers to benefit from this parish model.

“One of the pillars for this model is ensuring farmers get market for their produce and to achieve this, there should be good roads. The government may not necessarily construct tarmac roads but can do good murram roads,” he said.

Bataringaya pointed out Fort Portal-Kijura road that used to reach Nyakana’s farm, which he said is in a sorry state and yet it is used by many farmers in the area.

The Fort Portal-Kijura road connects to big tea factories in the region which Bataringaya said can make it easy for farmers to access market.

This 23Km road is an inter-district road which connects Fort Portal to Kyenjojo, Hoima and Ntoroko. The president has always talked about it while campaigning in the region but has never been worked on.

Richard Nyakana a model farmer who hosted the legislators pointed out poor road network as one of the biggest challenges hindering farmers from accessing market for their produce.

“For example, Rwengaju is the president’s model sub-county but the only main road we have is not worked on and yet most of us are farmers. How can we access the market? We have four big factories in the area but trailers have failed to pass because of bad roads,” he said.

Nyakana also appealed to the government to support farmers who already have something and give them machinery not looking at those who are starting.


The 3rd National Development Plan (NDP3) has adapted the parish model as a strategy for rural social and economic transformation.

The PDM is a strategy for organizing and delivering public and private sector interventions for wealth creation and employment generation at the parish level as the lowest economic planning unit.

The parish will be the epicenter of multi-sectoral community development planning, implementation, supervision, monitoring and accountability.

The LC2 Chairperson and Parish Chief shall be responsible for political stewardship in the implementation of the parish model in their respective parishes with support from the sub-county and district technical planning committee.

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