MAAIF Considers Raising Academic Qualifications for Agro-Business Dealers to Enhance Farming Sector

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Animal Industry, and stakeholders in the agro-inputs supply chain is considering raising the academic qualifications for agro-business dealers in order to address the issue of speculators negatively impacting the farming sector.

Under the current regulations, individuals with an ordinary secondary level of education and an elementary certificate in chemical safe use and handling are allowed to operate farm supply shops. However, there have been concerns that some of these dealers lack the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide accurate recommendations to farmers.

To address this issue, Joel Kakaire, the Country Manager at the African Fertilizers and Agribusiness Partnership-AFAP, has convinced the Ministry of Agriculture to introduce agriculture-specific academic qualifications for all agro-input dealers.

The aim is to ensure that input shops are managed by competent individuals who can provide farmers with appropriate inputs and guidance to enhance productivity.

Kakaire emphasizes that the technological advancements in the agricultural sector necessitate more qualified dealers who can understand the composition of inputs and effectively guide farmers. Manufacturers now offer blends of inputs, requiring dealers to have updated knowledge and skills.

Gilbert Kato, an Agronomist at the Export Trading Group-ETG, who participated in the discussion for the regulation reviews, believes that these reforms will create a new category of agricultural extension workers at the farm input shop level, thereby filling a gap in the government’s staff structure.

Dr. Denis Ssebinojjo, the Masaka District Agricultural Officer, confirms that consultations have taken place and that the majority of stakeholders, including farmers, have appreciated the proposal. They see it as an appropriate intervention to improve farm productivity.

The proposed reviews are expected to promote agriculture as a viable commercial venture by ensuring that farmers have access to both the right inputs and guidance more easily.

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