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    The Battle between NAADs and Army Led OWC: Agricultural Ministry Given Ultimatum

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    The Ministry of Agriculture has been given a one-month ultimatum to explain the powers under which it usurped legislative powers of Parliament to amend the NAADs Act to bring on board the army led operation Wealth Creation in agriculture management.

    This was after it was discovered that the dissolution of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) to pave way for Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) was done through a cabinet decision, in total disregard of the NAADs Act.

    In a meeting held yesterday at Parliament between MPs on the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and Joy Kabasti, State Minister of Animal Husbandry, the Committee ordered the Minister to table a statement to explain why cabinet usurped the powers of Parliament to illegally amend the NAADs Act.

    “Your structuring is contrary to the NAADs Act irrespective of its merits, therefore illegal. If you do wish to restructure like it was done, you must come to Parliament. You are directed to make a statement in the House within 30 days,” COSASE Chairperson Abdu Katuntu ordered.

    The officials of NAADs had appeared before the Committee to answer the 2013/2014 audit queries that highlighted that following the disbandment of NAADs, World Bank, which was financing agricultural extension services, withdrew funding in protest of the decision by cabinet.

    However, Kabasti defended the decision that was taken to push NAADs out of agricultural services saying the entity was spending over three thirds of its budget on juicy salaries, while the rural farmers were being denied the advisory services.

    Katuntu told off Kabatsi saying the extension services were killed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the officials only hijacked NAADs after noticing the huge chunks of funding coming to NAADs.

    “To restructure an institution that was set up by an Act, you have to go back to the law. You don’t administratively restructure an institution. The reason we enacted this law is because there was a problem at the Ministry of Agriculture and now that there is little money and success, you grab it away yet there was a total collapse of extension services all over the country,” Katuntu said.

    Legislators Michael Tusiime and Moses Kasibante questioned where the then Minister of Agriculture Tress Buchanayandi got the powers to have the Ministry take away NAADs’ mandate to offer extension services, yet the NAADs Act only gives the Minister powers to amend schedules in the Act.

    It was also revealed during the meeting that dissolved NAADs, cabinet also took the decision to change NAADs mandate without seeking legal opinion from the Attorney General.

    The Committee warned that the illegal involvement of UPDF in NAADs is likely to cause a constitutional crisis because Operation Wealth Creation isn’t an agent of either NAADs or Ministry of Agriculture and therefore can’t have a civil suit brought against it.

    Opolot Okasi, Director Crop Resources later admitted that indeed the Ministry errored in rushing to implement cabinet decision and asked for more time to streamline the process.

     

    By Stella Mugoya

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    FARMING

    Agribusiness:  Publics Africa Unveils The ‘I’m An Agripreneur Youth Programme’ In Bid To Boost Agricultural Production…

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    Publics Africa Communications MD Joseph Kanyamunyu

     As one of the ways to encourage Ugandans to engage in agriculture and to boost agricultural production through brand development and communication in Uganda’s agribusiness sector, Publics Africa Communications,  one of the top Public Relations firms in Uganda, has rolled out the ‘I am an Agriprenuer Youth Programme’ and is calling for applications from all interested youth from all over Uganda.

    While announcing the commencement of the programme during a presser held Sunday, Joseph Kanyamunyu, the Managing Director, Publics Africa communications said this project is aimed at empowering youth through creating employment opportunities, yet ensuring food security in the country.

    “We believe that in order to promote food security and tackle the youth unemployment problem in Uganda and beyond, we will have to start building agribusiness brands and subsequently professionalise young farmers and farming organizations which are key to sustainability.”

    Mr. Kanyamunyu revealed that the management of Publics Africa is already receiving applications, which will be scrutinized by a panel of experts before the participants in the programme are selected.

    It should be noted that the ‘Iam an Agripreneur’ programme is an initiative of Publics Africa Communications, which is aimed at encouraging engagement in modernized agriculture practices mainly for commercial purposes.

    An innovation of Publics Africa Communications, this new programme is bent on giving youth a platform to present innovations in agricultural technology, share expert knowledge about modernizing agriculture and develop a saleable/ marketable product and standards. They are working with an objective of convincing the agribusiness practitioners at embracing agriculture not only as a means of food security but also as a creator of employment opportunities.

    It should be noted unlike a few years ago when Public Relations and agriculture were not directly related, the recent past has shown that actually the two sectors  need each other in order to function properly and promote Uganda’s agricultural muscle while promoting sustainable ventures in Agriculture for the Youth and women.

    All Ugandans who wish to participate in the programme should like follow the I Am An Agriprenuer social media pages (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) or send a request via mail to Agriprenuer@publicsafrica.com for details on how to apply.

    Eligibility Criteria

    • To apply, eligible candidates (young people and women aged 18 to 35 with a passion for agriculture) will be invited to submit an agribusiness innovation project that is looking to improve food production and nutrition security and that project should have metamorphosised into a business and addresses the following stages of a genuine business practice. Agribusiness;
    • Determined services & products
    • Has sourced the right financing
    • Appropriate licenses (traceability number. Trading licenses, soil testing Land/ physical address)
    • A business plan (sustainability plan) do not run from the sector after they win.
    • Hired employees ( could be family members)

    Mr. Kanyamunyu noted that all successful applicants shall be notified through the contacts they avail and through the I’m An Agripreneur social media platforms.

     

    By Grapevine Reporter

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