FY 2014/15 – THE BUDGET WE WANT!!
On Tuesday, 15th April 2014, PELUM Uganda together with other partners under the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) umbrella hosted the annual Pre-Budget Dialogue to discuss the FY 2014/15 National Budget proposals. The dialogue was held at the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) Conference Hall in Kampala. Under the theme, “Every shilling counts: Are the FY 2014/15 Budget Proposals Efficient and Effective to deliver us from Poverty?“ the dialogue attracted over 235 participants that represented Government institutions, researchers, Members of Parliament, Civil Society Organisations, the Private Sector, academia, Ministry of Finance and small-scale farmers. Some of the PELUM supported member organizations and the affiliated farmers attended and were able to share their Agriculture and budget experiences.
Like any other developing country, Uganda is a signatory to international and regional declarations aimed at increasing funding to agriculture sector. Uganda like other East African member countries adopted the principles of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) which, aims at helping African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through Agriculturally-led development that is aimed at elimination of hunger, reduction of poverty and food insecurity, expansion of exports hence achieving an annual average growth rate of 6% in the agriculture sector.
But up to now the Agriculture sector still receives less than 5% of the National total budget. For example; the sector was allocated 3.3% (FY 2012/13), 2.9% (FY 2013/14) and 3.2% FY 2014/15 (Budget Frame Work Paper FY 2014/15), which is far below the 2003 Maputo declaration target of at least 10% allocation of the National Budget.
As such, for close to 4 years, PELUM has actively engaged on Budget advocacy, fronting budget related issues that affect Agricultural production and productivity. PELUM is the currently Chairing the CSBAG Agriculture sector working Group and is mandated to coordinate the development process of the sector specific position paper, which is later consolidated into the multi-sectoral CSBAG position for sharing at different decision making levels. Below are some of the agricultural highlights that were prioritized in the 2014/15 position paper on Agriculture;
- Revival of Farmer/producer Cooperatives: government should support and strengthen the Cooperative movement to promote collective marketing and stable prices for farmers as well as enabling the farmers to enjoy other benefits that accrue for such associations/cooperatives
- Good Quality and safe Seed-Agro-Inputs for small holder farmers: Government consider putting in place mechanisms that improve the informal seed sector; by promoting good quality and safe seeds through establishing model farms for indigenous seed multiplication and distribution to grass roots farmers
- An inclusive Agricultural Extension System: Government to move towards promoting a single spine extension system with emphasis on an inclusive agriculture extension system for all farmers; including technical support, to the rural women farmers.
- Access to Credit Facilities: Government through the MFPED should exploit the possibility of establishing an Agricultural Bank that will explicitly focus on farmers’ credit needs, hedge against risks like crop failures and volatilities in the prices of agro-products
- Enhancing small holder farmers’ adaptation to Climate Change: promoting appropriate micro-irrigation technologies that can be adopted by majority of the farmers for enhance adoptive capacity to climate change
PELUM Uganda recognizes that smallholder farmers are the people at the center of food production, but quite often, these lack the adequate resources to make them thrive, therefore; government investing in the agriculture sector will help lift millions of people especially rural women out of extreme poverty, hunger and boost the country’s economy.