Budget cuts for agriculture sector worry CSOs

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Budget cuts for agriculture sector worry CSOs
A man picks cotton.

The recently announced 2024/25 budget by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has sparked concerns among civil society organizations and district planners over the reduction of budget allocation for the agricultural sector.

These argue that the reduced budget allocation to agriculture comes at a critical time when the sector faces increasing threats from climate change.

Jessica Omodo, Programme Officer for Advocacy at Participating Ecological Land Management, said the cut in the budget allocated for the agricultural sector is contrary to the Malabo declaration of 2014 that Uganda subscribe to.

“By now, we should be witnessing a 10 per cent of the total national budget allocation towards agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, but the allocation does not translate to the commitment,” says Omodo.

The concerns were raised during the budget listening-in and budget dialogue in Lira City.

Omodo said the government should consider repurposing the budget to maintain a strong focus on production and productivity within the agricultural sector.

“With the reduction of the agricultural budget allocation, it is very clear that the cut will affect the implementation of specific programme areas including community engagement, extension services and agricultural mechanization that the government has always promised to support farmers with,” Omodo said.

The recent budget read by Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija indicates the agricultural budget allocation decreased from Shs1.805 trillion in the financial year 2023/24 to the current Shs1.6 trillion, Richard Oboi, the district planner for Soroti District say will affect development plans at the lower local governments.

“Now the question is that if the budget at the national level has increased by up to 36 percent, what is the translation of the increases in other sectors? It means projects for this financial year will be affected. The increase is not in terms of capital expenditures,” says Oboi.

Lilly Opinya, model farmer in Amolatar district, said exclusion of views from farmers during the budgeting processes has been affecting the agricultural sector

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