Uganda: Govt Starts Probe Into Fake Agro - Chemicals

The Agriculture ministry has established an 11-member committee to hastily study and give policy recommendations to address the persistent problem of poor quality agrochemicals on the market.

Mr Frank Tumwebaze, the Agriculture minister, said yesterday that they expect the policy recommendations from the committee within 90 days to formulate a government white paper with a clear policy and regulations to address the identified gaps for good.

The committee is headed by Prof John David Kabaasa, the principal of Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, deputised by Dr Eve Kasirye Alemu, an international consultant on standards and food safety.

Dr Steven Kisaka, a lecturer at Makerere University, is the committee secretary; while Dr Jullian Omalla, the chief executive officer of Delight Uganda Limited; and Ms Beatrice Byarugaba, the former director of agricultural extension services at the Ministry, are members.

The members

Other members include Dr John Nuwagaba (chairperson Uganda Veterinary Board), Mr Hudda Mahmood, Mr Tayebwa Rutamwebwa, Dr Patrick Vudriko, Ms Florence Kiconco, and Dr Ben Ssekamatte.

Farmers in the country have for decades decried the increasing problem of fake or substandard agrochemicals and acaricides on the market, in addition to the increasing problem of tick resistance to the chemicals.

Mr Tumwebaze said in a statement that regulation of the quality of agrochemicals is central due to the critical mandate of ministry in the implementation of National Development Plan 3 (NDPIII).

The minister said the committee has six objectives which include to "study and profile the various agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs and their various sources that are available on the market in Uganda."

Committee's tasks

The committee will "study and profile the supply chain of agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs in Uganda with a view to establish existing gaps and loopholes in policy, regulatory frameworks and usage. Study and inquire into the forms of complaints and their probable root causes regarding the quality of agrochemicals, acaricides and inputs from the farmers and other stakeholders in the entire value chain."

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