Defence ministry tables Shs30 billion supplementary for food security
The State Minister for Defence and Veteran Affairs (Veteran Affairs), Hon. Huda Oleru, has appealed for a Shs30 billion supplementary for the ministry to implement the Food and Animal Feeds Security Project.
The project aims at scaling up food and animal feeds security to avert the emerging shortages in the country.
She made the call while appearing before the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries on Wednesday, 01 February 2023.
According to Oleru, her ministry was tasked to set aside funds from its budget to execute the project. “We received this money on paper but we were not given the cash. Our technical team looked around and got money that we have been using to get the supplies but we have not yet been reimbursed,” she told MPs.
The lead agencies implementing the project include the Chieftaincy of Production and Welfare (CPW), National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) and veterans cluster.
The Chieftaincy of Production and Welfare received Shs14.2 billion of the total funding, of which Shs9.8 billion was used to cater for activities in the August 2022 to March 2023 planting season, up to harvest and post-harvest handling.
Maj. Gen. Sam Kiwanuka who heads the project under CPW, said 6,542 acres of maize, sorghum and soybean were planted in the previous season, with a goal of 10,000 acres anticipated for the 2023 planting season.
“Part of the land targeted has not been harvested and we urgently require a combined harvester to facilitate quick harvest and mechanisation equipment to open up land for the new planting season,” Maj. Gen. Kiwanuka said.
Simon Terwane, the Managing Director of the National Enterprise Corporation, said they received Shs8.26 billion and utilised Shs4.26 billion to execute land preparation, harvesting, post-harvesting and farm storage.
He added that a total of 2,084 acres were planted with maize, beans and soy beans with a total expected crop yield of 4,568 metric tonnes from farms in Katonga and Kyankwanzi.
“We request Parliament to source high-end markets for the produce being grown, by ring fencing markets in government bodies and internationally through Uganda’s overseas missions,” Terwane noted.
Mike Mabonga Wambi, the Commissioner in charge of Rehabilitation, Psycho-social Support and Resettlement at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs, said the veterans cluster received Shs7.39 billion.
He noted that Shs6.8 billion of the received funds has been utilised to plant and carry out harvesting of 4,706 acres of maize and soybean.
“The veterans who are reintegrating in the communities and other community members gain employment along the value chain and this improves their incomes and retirement life,” Wambi noted.
The deputy committee chairperson, Hon. Agnes Atim, tasked the agencies to present information on a clear exit plan to ensure food security in the country, after its mass production.
Hon. Stella Isodo (FDC, Ngora District Woman MP) emphasised the need to incorporate appropriate technologies into the project, which in turn can be accessed by the communities to improve farming.
The MP for Bardege-Layibi Division in Gulu City, Hon. Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, recommended that to address market access for the food produce, the ministries of defence and that of education develop a framework to work together to create markets.