Maize millers in the Busoga sub-region, under the Agriculture Cluster Development Programme (ACDP), have decried the high cost of electricity, which they say has frustrated their returns.
The ACDP, a partnership project of the ministry of Agriculture and the World Bank, is financed by the bank’s International Development Assistance.
The project commenced on January 23, 2017, to raise on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities (maize, beans, rice, cassava, and coffee), in specified (12) geographic clusters spanning over 57 districts.
The farmers expressed their frustrations during a visit by the minister of state for Agriculture Fred Kyakulaga Bwino in districts of Iganga, Bugweri, Bugiri, and Namutumba.
Kyakulaga had gone to the districts to commission matching grant facilities and also monitor the progress of the rehabilitation of roads under the Agriculture Cluster Development Project.
Jane Baitanunga, the chairperson of Nambale Agri-business Co-operative in Iganga district narrated to the minister how the high cost of power has left many beneficiaries with no single coin.
“The transformer and the meters that we received are for the factory where they overcharge us. For example, we may collect Shs 2 million and we spend over Shs 1.7 million on the electricity bills taking over 85% of the profits leaving us with no coin saved. Therefore we call upon the government to intervene in the matter such that we can also save some money,” Baitanunga said.
Kyakulaga commended the project for its contribution to increased marketable volumes.
He also said he had taken all the challenges faced by the farmers raised by their leaders and will ensure they are addressed, especially the high cost of power and e-voucher challenge.
“I encourage all leaders to intensify mobilisation of farmers through to the third cycle of the project to utilise all the funds meant to benefit the farmers,” he said.
The government has so far spent over $ 81.74 million out of the $ 150 million budgeted to benefit 57 districts under the agricultural cluster development program.