READY: Lango Farmers To Match To State House Over delayed released of funds by Microfinance Support Center

One of the land in Apac that was earlier cleared for rice growing already outgrown by weeds due to lack of seeds


APAC-SHIFTMEDIA- The cries of the farmers from Lango sub-region are far from over. For the second time, they have yet again missed the planting season, due to the delayed release of funds by the Microfinance Support Center.

Last week we reported how farmers were accusing MSC field officers of demanding kickbacks before they can conduct appraisals prior to funding.

The over 10,000 farmers from Apac, Kwania, Alebtong, Otuke, Oyam, Lira, and Kole are now planning something new. A long match to State House to protest the delayed release of funds meant for agro-inputs.

The planting season winds up in May. The same happened in the second planting season of 2020 to the same farmers resulting into late planting of alternative crops and huge losses to the farmers.

According to FAO, late planting by a day results in 5% harvest losses by farmers.

“We have tried to send a message to the officials of Microfinance support Center. We can’t keep on posting losses each time due to lack of seeds. Enough is enough,” said Mike Ngura the farmer’s mobilizer in Kwania district.

Ngura said in an interview how his life has been made so difficult by continued lies from MSC. “As a mobilizer, my farmers now assume I am a liar. Each time they prepare their gardens money for seeds is not released. I am now hiding, even my phones are off,” he said.


Ngura said he had mobilized over 3,000 farmers who own over 7,000 acres of land. “Since even our written petition to the President hasn’t been responded to, we are now mobilizing to storm Kampala,” he said in anger. “We need President Museveni to tell us whether it is still important to remain farmers in Uganda.”

Ogwal Milton Opio, the  Chairperson  Opeta Cooperative Union, had similar sentiments. “So far we had mobilized over 200 farmers in Aboke with over 370 acres of land but we are very frustrated due to failure by Microfinance to release the funds for seeds,” he said.

Ogwal said each time farmers open their land and they don’t plant makes them lose morale amidst heavy losses. “People have sold their animals, borrowed from SACCOs to open up land. Who is going to compensate for these losses?”

Ojede Marcos the Executive Manager- Okwongodul Cooperative in Dokolo said the suffering of the farmers in Dokolo was beyond explanation. He said if the trend continues like this, food insecurity will rise.

Martha Omito from Acamdako in Amolatar said if farmers are not kept busy, issues of insecurity will pop up again. “What do you expect when one losses source of income? And to make matters worse, the little that we have is spent on the opening of the land, leaving us with nothing. President Museveni must intervene immediately,” she said.

Ebilu Moses from Ochero in Kaberamaido said the mobilization of the farmers is in high stages. “For now we shall not mention how it will be done, they will see angry farmers in Kampala,” he said.

Santa Joyce Laker the chairperson Atiak Women’s Cooperatives Union said last year they spent shs90million in ploughing and clearing the land. “The last season for planting is running out if we don’t plant between May and June we may have to miss out again for the third time,” said the enraged Laker.

Since the government dispatched shs10b to MSC in August 2020 towards support to farmers agro-input, only shs 1.8bn has been released so far to mainly farmers from Eastern Uganda.

Scores of other farmers from Acholi, Lango, and West Nile Sub regions are yet to benefit from these funds, which is meant to be a loan, not a grant.

Hon David Ebong the CEO and Managing Director of Clean Energy Partnership Africa (CEPA) Limited that mobilized the farmers in Apac, Kole, Dokolo, Otuke, Alebtong, and Kwania has said its time the farmers resorted to what they think will send the message to MSC.

“In what seems a deliberate move, the top MSC bosses went a step further and defied orders from the Minister of Finance Hon Matia Kasaija and Secretary to Treasury Keith Muhakanizi who had urged for expeditious redress on the matter of delayed inputs,” said Ebong.

Ebong said CEPA had mobilized over 5,000 farmers and 6700 acres of land in the first season (2021). “On January 27th, 2021 I wrote to MSC and availed the list of the farmers from 44 farmers groups and cooperatives with over 7,000 acres of land ready for rice growing. My pleas weren’t heard,” said Ebong in his letter to top Finance officials.

“The Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development (MoFPED) released the funds as of 3rd August 2020. Do these officials divert funds for farmers to finance contractors for individual benefits at expense of farmers,” he questioned.

Sounding rather agitated, Ebong said in the missive: “MSC must be radically reformed and the officials held accountable to reverse the unacceptable relationship that dis-empower and keep smallholder farmers locked up in chronic poverty.” MSC chief Peter Mujuni said another shs1.6bn was dispatched to farmers in May, though Zeus denied receipt of any funds yet.

President Museveni during his campaigns in northern Uganda promised action against the delayed release of funds. These officials are so daring that they even defy the President’s directives twice in a row without heeding. It’s a contempt of his directive at the peril of the farmers. Where farmers are involved should be a risky attempt for any official or institution to betray.

The government through MAAIF, and MSC signed a memorandum of Understanding with Zeus Agro Limited (Zeus) to support Rice farmers in eastern and northern Uganda to access high-quality seeds in a sustainable manner.

The purpose for this was to cease rice importation and boost local rice production.

Shift Media News

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