Monday, 17 February 2014

Assessing the performance of the NAADS (National Agricultural Advisory Services) sector

On 1st February 2014, local citizens appeared on HITS FM to assess the performance of the NAADS sector and the idea of President Museveni to sack all District NAADS coordinators claiming they have failed to transform rural communities from poverty. “NAADS was passed by the Ugandan parliament in 2001 under the NAADS Act to run for 25 years. This program had an aim of increasing people’s incomes through embracing improved modern agriculture. However, both the farmers and the government have had weaknesses in the program and it should not be only the NAADS coordinators to carry blame for failing the program”, said Benjamin Kennedy, a local citizen in Kabarole District.

The local citizen was discussing this during ToroDev’s supported live radio accountability program on HITS FM called ‘Orukurato Program’ that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (8:00 – 10:00pm).
ToroDev's Shila with a NAADS beneficiary in Mugusu Sub County

The live radio discussion was also attended by Mr. Fred Banage, a beneficiary of the NAADS program from Kabarole District who highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of the NAADS program. “NAADS program has been beneficial to the local people who embraced it through increased house hold incomes. However, NAADS has failed due to the poor quality of equipment that is supplied to farmers and the collapse of some co-operations like Rubona Stock Farm that used to be known for supplying high breed cattle”. 

Mr. Fred went ahead to indicated how the government has had weaknesses in running the NAADS program that has also contributed to its failure. “The NAADS program has been under staffed because of being under funded by the government. There is only one extension worker per Sub County yet with many farmers. This has caused many farmers to miss advice/knowledge of handling the supplied equipment”.

Meanwhile, Mr. Benjamin indicated how the government should focus on improving other factors that have failed development among the local people rather than criticizing the NAADS sector only. “I don’t support the President’s issue of sucking all NAADS coordinators, government should focus on other factors that have totally failed development among the local citizens such as corruption, lack of medicines in hospitals, poor roads, among others”.

The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto.

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