Farmers reject OWC Cassava inputs over poor quality

KIKUUBE – Farmers in Buhimba town council and sub-county in Kikuube district have rejected cassava inputs which were supplied to them by Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).

The farmers in Buhimba town council rejected more than 55 sacks of cassava stems while those of Buhimba sub-county rejected 50 which were delivered three weeks ago at Buhimba community hall. They rejected the input on grounds that they were of poor quality and the inputs are currently drying up at the hall.

Musa Mugisa, the Mayor of Buhimba town council said, apart from the inputs being of poor quality, they were supplied late when the planting season was nearing the end hence there were fears they could not germinate.

The farmers supported by the Mayor demanded that the supplier takes back the poor-quality cassava inputs to avoid wastage of tax payers’ money.

They blamed the continued mess in the implementation of OWC program on lack of involvement of local leaders, district technical department and the beneficiaries in the selection of suppliers for the inputs.

Mugisa says, the cassava inputs were meant to be given to the farmers who were hit by the hailstorm in Kikuube district in May this year but shockingly they were supplied recently as the season was ending.

James Murungi, a farmer, said that late delivery of the cassava inputs has been one of the major challenges affecting the success of OWC.

He noted that even maize, coffee and beans are always supplied late and the farmers end up not benefiting from the program. He further demanded that OWC officials change their mode of operations.

Captain Benjamin Mugonzagane, the Coordinator OWC Kikuube and Kikuube district Production Officer, Barnabus Ntume defended themselves saying, they are not in-charge of procurement of the inputs.

They explained that procurement is done by NAADS secretariat adding that the role of the district and OWC is to receive and supply the inputs.

Mugonzagane noted that they cannot determine the quality of the inputs and time for supply because they do not get involved in the procurement process.

“The District production department receives the inputs from the NAADS secretariat, then the district hands over the inputs to OWC to deliver to the farmers,” said Mugonzagane.

Ntume said, Kikuube district received 1,220 sacks of cassava inputs adding that only Buhimba town council rejected the stems.

He blamed the leaders and the farmers for failing to communicate in time that they were interested in the inputs, noting that farmers in other sub-counties received and planted the cassava stems while others missed.

“We would have given these cassava inputs to those who missed, if you had informed us in time before these inputs dried up,” said Ntume.

The Kikuube Resident District Commissioner, Amlan Tumusiime who was invited to witness the rejected inputs condemned Brice Ajuna, the supplier for supplying poor quality agricultural inputs.

Tumusiime vowed to make sure that the supplier refunds the money that was paid to him by the government or else be arrested.

He described the supplier’s act as corruption, noting that such people are the ones failing the government program initiated to help citizens in fighting against poverty.

He also proposed that OWC should be given full responsibility for carrying out procurement to improve on the program.

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