Small-scale farmers from the Eastern African Community (EAC) bloc are looking to petition the regional heads of state through the East African Legislative Assembly over the failure by member states to allocate 10% of their national budgets to the respective agriculture sectors.
The farmers, under their Umbrella Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale farmers Forum, told Journalists in Kampala that EAC member states have failed to the honour the commitment they made during the African Heads of states meeting held in Malabo Equatorial Guinea.
The leaders pledged to allocate 10% of the National Budget to the Agriculture sector.
We call for the speedily and progressively implementation of the Malabo Declaration the EAC members states should make it mandatory in the coming financial 2019/2020 budget to allocate not less than 10% of their national budget to the Agriculture sector and operationalize Agriculture Investment Bank said Hakim Baliraine the Forum Chairperson.
The petition will be through the Council of Ministers (Ministers responsible for Agriculture in the EAC Member states) and delivered to their respective Heads of states on behalf of the farmers.
Consequently, the forum members have embarked on collecting about 10 million signatures across the country from farmers which they will present to the House speaker of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
The Farmers urge that allocating limited resources to the sector has affected its growth thus keeping millions of farmers, farming as small-scale farmers and this has a negative impact on the region’s food security.
They observed that investing in the Agriculture sector not only addresses hunger and malnutrition but also other challenges including poverty, climate change among others.
By petitioning the regional parliament, the farmers are optimistic that their demand will be heard since Parliaments of the member states have failed to compel their governments to implement the Malabo Declaration.
The Declaration was adopted in the region during the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly in Zanzibar in October 2016.
EALA has since passed a resolution for the fast-tracking the Implementation and domestication of Malabo Declaration.
“We shall be moving across the country to get this signature when we have done then the forum shall proceed to Arusha Tanzania where we shall be joined by our friends from Kenya and Tanzania to deliver our petition to the EAC Assembly,” explained Mario Mangu-Acel, a forum member from Zombo District in West Nile, Uganda.