The East African Legislative Assembly has once again reiterated the need to implement the Malabo Declaration as a means to ensuring food security and transformation of the agricultural sector among the member states.
A report from of the Committee on Agriculture, Tourism and Natural Resources on Budgetary Enhancement in the Agricultural Sector presented to the House by the Committee Chairperson Mathias Kasamba recently, states that despite its potential towards fighting poverty among the regional states, the agriculture sector has been growing slowly over the years and continues to attract limited funding from governments.
Kasamba said the sector’s funding is still below the continental benchmark of 10%. This he said has negatively impacted the sector and is a big obstacle in attracting the youth to participate in the sector.
African Leaders, in 2013, adopted a Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) known as the Maputo Declaration 2003. They agreed that all governments should at least allocate 10% of their national budget to the agriculture sector but very have implemented it yet Agriculture sector is key in contributing to the gross domestic product.
Engineer Habib Mnyaa called on the Assembly to collaborate more closely with the relevant committees in the national Parliaments to allow for the push of enhanced budgets.
Amb Fatuma Ndangiza noted that agricultural sector is crucial in the economies of the partner states and the region.
“Agriculture remains to be critical in all the EAC partner states with 70-72% of the citizens in the region depending on the Agriculture Sector,” the legislator said.
Pierre Celestin Rwigema informed the House of the necessity to secure ready market for farmers’ produce within the region. Furthermore, the legislator reiterated improved infrastructure would allow for smooth movement of the agricultural produce.
Why Agriculture sector needs enough resources
The agriculture Sector is a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the East African region, accounting for 31.3% in Kenya, Uganda (25%), Burundi (34.2%), Tanzania (30%), Rwanda (33%) and South Sudan (34.5%).
Recently, various farmers Organization from the East African Community member states presented their views to the regional Assembly where they demanded budget increment for the sector.
Hakim Baliraine, the Chairperson of the Eastern and Southern Africa small holder farmers forum (EASFF Uganda chapter), told East African Business Week that poor funding affects technological transfer between farmers and researchers.
“The agriculture sector is currently facing with the challenges associated with climate change, many farmers have lost their Livestock’s due to drought but if government had allo9ocated enough resources , the sector ministry could use part of the financial resources to construct water dams such that there’s availability of water during the dry seasons,” he said.
He added that limited resources means government cannot recruit enough agricultural extension services providers yet such professionals play a big role in the sector.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO