The World Bank invests Shs 540 billion in Agriculture Cluster Development Project

UBA Uganda Managing Director/CEO, Johnson Agoreyo speaks to media at Golden Tulip Hotel.

The government is determined to continue with the electronic system of agricultural input purchases.

The e-Voucher system launched in 2019 was developed by United Bank for Africa and used as a purchase and payment system to boost the Agriculture Cluster Development Program (ACDP).

The system enables the farmers to order inputs like seeds, fertilizers and insecticides and pay and have them delivered, without getting into contact with the suppliers.

One of the objectives was to fight corruption along the value chain, eliminate the supply of substandard inputs and also ensure that the farmers get the supplies or inputs they apply for.

Major General David Kasura, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries says this system has improved the security in the agro-input industry because it is hard to supply fake products since the farmers and the suppliers are registered.

He adds that there is no physical exchange of cash, making it more secure, unlike with previous programs like NAADS where farmers would be supplied with substandard and overpriced inputs.

Kasura was on Tuesday receiving the e-Voucher Management System, an electronic purchase and payment system developed by UBA and launched in 2019.

Under the system, the government subsidizes the inputs up to 67 percent, which may keep reducing per season and in the fourth season, the farmer is expected to have developed the capacity to pay for all the inputs required.

The digital system will now be inherited by the new partner, M-Cash for continuation. UBA Head of Digital Transactions, Ronald Lwanga says the bank is satisfied that they created a desirable system, despite the hitches.

The system has not been without issues. Some farmers say there is a challenge of system failures and they fail to get the inputs at the time they expected to have them ready for use.

This however is attributed to the mobile telecom companies, whose system failures, the program or the bank have no control over.

Erick Ayo, an agro dealer says sometimes the government takes too long to pay the suppliers under the ACDP.

The Cluster Program and the e-Voucher Management System are also due to be employed under the Parish Development Model, with the government saying it has been successful in the 57 districts.

The Commissioner for Extension Services and Coordinator of the ACDP, Henry Nakelet Opolot says they have learnt a lot of lessons over the five years of ACDP and the three and a half of the e-Voucher system and are ready to improve it.

The Agriculture Cluster Development Project is a 6-year partnership project under the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries supported by the World Bank.

The launch of the program followed the approval by the Parliament in 2016 that followed the signing of the financing agreement on the 26th September 2016.

Its components are “Support for Intensification of On-Farm Production”, “Value Addition and Market Access”, “Policy, Regulatory and Institutional Support” and “Coordination, Management and ICT Platforms.”

The beneficiaries include 450,000 farmers that are drawn from approximately 300 area-based Commodity Cooperative Enterprises representing about 3,000 Rural Producer Organizations.

While the total investment by the World Bank in ACDP is 150 million US Dollars, (540 billion shillings), the total contribution from the Government of Uganda through the Matching Grant Scheme and the farmers through purchase of the agro-inputs is 28 million US Dollars (100 billion shillings) and 70 million US Dollars (251 billion shillings) respectively.

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