17 August 2016

Govt unveils plans to certify agro-inputs


Government has announced plans to put quality seals on agro-inputs to reduce counterfeits supplied to farmers.

Agriculture minister Vincent Ssempijja said the move is aimed at protecting farmers from selfish dealers taking advantage of the liberalised economy to sell fake agro-inputs to farmers.

“Plans are already under way to emboss particular farm-inputs to counter adulteration by fake dealers. Both the farmers and the farm- input dealers should help government to fight the quack dealers. We cannot fight the fake dealers without your cooperation,” Mr Ssempijja said.

He was speaking at a one -day sensitisation workshop organised by Bamunanika County MP John Chrysostom Muyingo in Luweero District at the weekend

Mr Ssempijja said government has already certified several companies ready to roll out the programme.

“We shall use the media and local government officials to reach out to the public on this programme. Companies that are supplying seeds have taken a big step in countering fake seeds,” he added.

The minister was responding to concerns raised by farmers in Luweero over increasing cases of counterfeit and pirated products on the market.

Last year, the ministry of Agriculture introduced the mobile phone powered e-verification programme in collaboration with the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics to help farmers distinguish fake farm inputs from genuine ones.

The electronic e-tag is designed to empower farmers detect forgeries for the genuine trade and quality marks.

Dr Muyingo said he organised the workshop to equip district leaders and farmers with vital information because both play a central role in implementation and monitoring of government projects aimed at uplifting livelihoods.

“This sensitisation workshop will be followed by a series of meetings to ensure that our people engage in meaningful agriculture which is the backbone of our economy,” he added.

Available statistics indicate that in 2010, East Africa lost more than $500m in tax revenue due to counterfeit and pirated products flooding the market. Information from the ministry of Agriculture reveals that in 2012, counterfeits in the agro chemical business accounted for between 15 per cent and 20 per cent market share, translating into about $6m (about Shs13b)


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