Hundreds of Nwoya Farmers disconnected from market

NWOYA – Hundreds of farmers in Alero and Lungulu Sub Counties in the Nwoya district have been cut off from accessing markets for their produce after a major road became impassable due to lack of routine maintenance.

The road which connects Kinene Trading Center to Lungulu Sub County has been impassable for the last eight months.

This has greatly affected members of Nwoya Cassava and Rice Growers Cooperative Society.

The Co-op’s Vice Chairperson, Odong Michael Obwona says, vehicles are unable to access the area.

“The bad road has made it impossible for us to bulk our produce and negotiate good prices. Our produce store is also now redundant because few people are using it,” he said.

The Cooperative society which has 250 members mainly grows rice, cassava, beans, groundnuts, soybeans and maize.

Obwona said that farmers have made losses as they have been forced to sell their produce at cheaper prices.

“We used to sell our groundnuts at Shs. 120,000 per bag but because of the bad road, members now sell at Shs. 80,000-90,000,” he said.

Angee Jessica, a member of Nwoya Cassava and Rice Growers Cooperative Society said, she is now spending more on transporting her produce to Anaka Town Council on a Boda-boda.

“The only option I have now is to transport my produce to Anaka Town Council on a Boda-boda motorcycle because the buyers who used to come here in vehicles cannot access it anymore

Both Obwona and Angee have appealed to responsible authorities to save the situation.

Ojara Justin Lawot, the Local Council 3[LC III] Chairperson, Alero Sub County says, the road is under the mandate of the district.

“The road was assessed in 2020 for rehabilitation under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project [ACDP] but up to now nothing has happened,” he said.

ACDP is a project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries.

It’s a partnership between the Government of Uganda and the World Bank, financed by the International Development Assistance [IDA] of the World Bank.

Emmanuel Orach, the Nwoya district Chairperson who also doubles as the Secretary of Works and Technical Services says that work on the road could not start because of a meagre budgetary allocation.

“This was among the 8 roads stretching 41.5kms planned for rehabilitation under ACDP but due to financial constraints in the Ministry of Agriculture, four roads including Kinene-Lungulu road were knocked out of the list.”

He said the budget was reduced from Shs 2 billion to Shs 1 billion which can barely work on one road.

Orach is hopeful that the road will be funded in the next financial year as locally raised revenue is too little to facilitate road works.

Nwoya district in May approved a budget of Shs 27.7 billion for the 2021/2022 financial year with road works being allocated Shs1.5 billion.

The budget is largely funded by the Central government at Shs 24.6 billion, development partners at Shs2.4 billion and locally raised revenue at Shs 616.9 million

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