Uganda's soil fertility is declining and there is urgent need for nutrients to be replenished, the Minister of Agriculture, Tress Buchanayandi has warned.
He was on Tuesday responding to concerns and issues raised by MPs during debate on the report of the committee on national economy on the state of the economy. The report was presented in Parliament last year, but it was not debated.
Buchanayandi advised farmers to use organic fertilizers available on their farms to improve productivity. In the long term, he said, they will look at the possibility of exploiting fertilizers deposits found in Uganda.
Bujumba MP, Fred Badda had urged the government to act on the declining soil fertility. He was also concerned about lack of a mechanism to protect producers when prices fall.
Badda urged the government to improve extension services saying that most of the technology was lying idle at research institutes.
Sebuliba Mutumba (Kawempe South) called for population control given the available resources.
Several MPs urged government to focus on increasing production and exports to enable the country earn more foreign exchange so as to boost the economy. Vincent Ssempijja (Kalungu East) said there is a very big imbalance between exports and imports, with many people being importers compared to exporters.
MPs were also concerned about the commercial banks' lending rates, which they said have remained high and yet the Central Bank had reduced its rates. Tim Lwanga (Kyamuswa) said the governor of the central bank must come up to explain.
Fred Mwesigye (Nyabushozi) said the economy needs a strong development bank to assist Ugandans do more investment and a strong agricultural bank given the fact that the country's economy depends mainly on agriculture. He appealed to the Ministry of finance to ensure that this is effected.
Ken Lukyamuzi (Rubaga South) complained about substandard goods which are flooding the market.