President Yoweri Museveni has disclosed that out of the Shs.200 billion (two hundred billion) that the Government has been releasing annually to benefit famers under the National Agricultural and Advisory Services (NAADS) Programme, only Shs.95 billion (ninety five billion) was going for the purchase of seedlings and the rest was being mismanaged by civil servants in various districts in the country.
“The purpose of involving the Army to take lead in the NAADS implementation is to save the farmers from the misappropriation of the NAADS funds. So my involving you is geared towards saving the people of Uganda, ” the President said.
The President was addressing about 300 Army Officers at State House, Entebbe yesterday who have been recruited to implement the NAADS Programme in all districts of Uganda with a view to helping wananchi in wealth creation.
The Government launched NAADS programme in the year 2001 with the overall objective of supporting the transformation of agriculture in the country from subsistence to commercial farming.
Mr. Museveni told the meeting that according to researched information, only 40% of the NAADS funds were being used to implement the programme’s objectives and the remaining 60% mismanaged by civil servants.
“Now that the time of eating children’s money is over, it must stop,” he declared.
Regarding the recruitment of extension workers for NAADS by Public Service Commission, the President said that the line Ministry can go ahead and recruit if it has money but stressed that the Ministry should not whatsoever divert NAADS money to pay for their salaries.
“We don’t want this money to be diverted to pay salaries instead of buying seeds and other materials for farmers,” he emphasized.
The Army Officers, the President said, will, among other things, be given a constituency each in which to implement the NAADS programme with guidelines from District Agricultural Officers.
Mr. Museveni also directed the Ministry of Defense to write to all Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) in Uganda and their subordinates informing them about the activities of the Army Officers. He advised the Army Officers to take extra care and ensure that no fake agro-chemicals that may have been infiltrated onto the Ugandan market are purchased adding that in the event that this happened, both the buyer and the seller will be prosecuted.
General Salim Saleh, who will be heading the Army Officers, asked government to look for regional markets for Uganda farmers’ products, especially in Kenya and South Sudan. He also advocated for the establishment of agro-processing centers at district level throughout the country.