Farmers ask gov't to remove taxes on post-harvest handling equipment

Farmers want no taxes on post-harvest handling equipment

Farmers want no taxes on post-harvest handling equipment: Ugandan farmers under their Umbrella organization, Uganda National Farmers Federation have asked government to remove import duties and other taxes on post-harvest handling equipment and facilities.

The president of the  farmers’ federation Dr.Dick Nuwamanya Kamuganga  said the removal of taxes will make  equipment  and facilities more affordable  hence  they will  be easily  accessible and as a result will solve the problem of poor post  harvest handling by famers  which is a big challenge in the country .

“The quality for some of our Agricultural produce especially grain is wanting; the problem is associated with poor post-harvest handling.  Many of our farmers lacks modern post harvesting handling facilities not because they wish but due to the cost implication associated with them. For farmers to improve on post-harvest handling government need to come in by removing taxes imposed on the facilities,” Kamugunga told Journalist at the federation’s head offices in Kampala.

Currently very few farmers  have access to  value addition  equipment  and facilities  such as post harvesting   due to the high costs on the market because government  taxes both VAT  and import duty  which makes  the facilities  expensive  and inaccessible  by famers  and traders.

He explained that compromising quality of the Uganda grain especially maize results to failure of such products to penetrate the markets in the region especially in the East Africa.

“Kenya used to be the leading destination for Ugandan maize but the country is shifting the market to other countries such as Malawi; Tanzania; and Zambia because of good quality. Government must put in strict measures  to ensure  quality of our produce, we are likely  to continue  being  considered  last  in the supply  of produces, like maize,“ He explained.

The farmers are advising government to review the free market economy policy like what other countries have done by setting up minimum farm gate. The president  explained that  Whereas  Uganda’s economy is a liberal  one,  it is vital  that a minimum  price  should  be set  below which  no one  is allowed  to buy agricultural produce  in the country  from farmers because this will help farmers to recover their  investments .

“The price should be arrived at in a transparent manner with consultations with farmers. Technical  people  and buyers , so  that   a farmer  can breakeven   and recover  the production costs but  also make  some  profit  from their  sweat . Unless this is done farmers will most likely abandon maize production yet maize has been found to be promising enterprises “He added.

The National publicity Secretary for the federation Grace Musimami at the same event also noted that  government should  implement  the recently  launched  Grain  Trade policy  to ensure  proper  post harvesting  handling  and  structured  marketing  of  grains for domestic  consumption as well as  for export  market . This will increase competitiveness of Ugandan grains in the regional   and International markets respectively.