In Summary

The agriculture budget is expected to be marginally increased to Shs846.7 billion in the 2017/18 Financial Year, down from Shs823.42 billion in the current financial year, ending June 30.

About building human resources capital, Ssekitoleko said there is need to train personnel in diseases and pests control and put in place a fully-fledged department for it in the ministry of Agriculture.

Kampala.

The ministry of Agriculture has been urged to prioritise research and human resources development in the 2017/18 Budget so as to develop resistant crop varieties to ensure food security in the country.

The call comes at a time when the country is grappling with one of the worst food shortages in more than a decade, following last year’s long drought. This has forced food prices to skyrocket.

Speaking to journalists in an interview on Monday, the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance chairperson Victoria Ssekitoleko, said prioritising research will enable the country develops varieties that can withstand climatic change related challenges and ensure improved and reliable food production.

“Uganda has good quality agricultural produce but we lack the quantities. There was a country which was willing to send a plane to Uganda to take up to 10,000 tonnes of avocados every week but we could not raise the quantities. There so many buyers knocking at our door want to buy our produce but we do not have the quantities,” Ms Ssekitoleko said.

The agriculture budget is expected to be marginally increased to Shs846.7 billion in the 2017/18 Financial Year, down from Shs823.42 billion in the current financial year, ending June 30.

About building human resources capital, Ssekitoleko said there is need to train personnel in diseases and pests control and put in place a fully-fledged department for it in the ministry of Agriculture.

“If we had a diseases and pests department, we would have moved fast enough to contain the armyworm before it engulfed the whole country,” she said.

Additionally, she said that as the country plans to adopt irrigation to curb climatic change related challenges such as drought, there is need to train irrigation engineers and plumbers to help in the process.

In a related development, the former minister urged government to put in place an agricultural finance policy to help farmers transform into commercial agriculturalists.