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Increase funding in agriculture research, gov’t told

Government should take deliberate efforts to increase funding in agriculture research to increase food production in the country, civil society oraganisations have said.

Their argument is that agriculture research is one of the inevitable developments in the world today that government can’t afford to ignore.

Under their umbrella Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), the groups observe that with the increasing level of pests and diseases countrywide, increased research funding is needed to mitigate the upsurge.

Presenting a paper on critical “CSO concerns on public financing for agriculture research”, Julius Mukunda, the coordinator of CSBAG, argued that agricultural research should be prioritized as security.

“As a country we must drive our own research agenda. It’s a security issue,” Mukunda told an audience of members of civil society, MPs, scientists, agriculturalists and National Agriculture Research Organisations (NARO) officials at Speke Resort Munyonyo Hotel in Kampala.

“We need to make research that speaks to the needs of farmers.”

He also highlighted the importance of disseminating researched technologies so that farmers across the country can access it.

One of his observations was that research institutions not have capacity to absorb the funds given to them in each financial year, a problem he said should be tackled rather than returning the money to the consolidated fund.

“Constraints of institutions having no capacity to spend the money must be addressed.”

The coordinator also questioned the development work of NARO, wondering whose interests it serves: “Whose agenda are we promoting?”

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