Masaka District Chairperson Asks Gov’t to Reconsider PDM for Agricultural Marketing

Masaka district Chairperson Andrew Lukyamuzi Batemyetto has asked the government to reconsider the implementation of the Parish Development Model-PDM program and instead channel the funds into boosting markets of agricultural produce.

According to him, providing financial support to the different agricultural enterprises may not yield the intended results of improving the incomes of the targeted population in the absence of reliable markets for their produce.

Through the implementation of PDM, the government is targeting to take development planning and resources to the parish level to ensure that national development is fully embraced rights from the grassroots. In the program design, the government planned to inject 300 million Shillings into each PDM Sacco, with an intention of transforming the livelihoods of 39 per cent of households, from subsistence to a money economy.

But Lukyamuzi is uncertain of the viability of the PDM’s implementation in the rural communities until the government works out modalities for settling the challenges of unreliable markets for the agricultural produce and high costs of agricultural inputs that are the major frustration for farmers.

Speaking at the public consultation meeting in Kyesiiga sub-county on Thursday, Lukyamuzi said that rural farmers have always laboured to establish their plantations, but their efforts are usually frustrated by high costs and poor quality of inputs that include the much-needed fertilizers, in addition to the lack of markets.

He explains that farmers are left at the mercy of brokers who exploit them with very low prices, adding that in such circumstances the farmers may fail to repay the loans that will be given to them under the PDM program. He now wants the government to establish institutionalized value addition and storage facilities at the district level to enable farmers to store their grains.

Masaka District Council Speaker Francis Kimuli has also noted that since agriculture is taking a central stage in the PDM, the government needs to dedicate much emphasis to addressing the recurrent challenges affecting the sector other than merely providing financing which may fail to make tangible results.

The appeals have come at a time when Members of Parliament are conducting consultations on the implementation of the Parish Development Model program in their respective constituencies.

Early this week, the Minister of Local Government Raphael Magyezi said that President Yoweri Museveni will soon hold an engagement with districts, cities, and division leaders across the country to discuss among other issues the best approaches to uplifting the livelihoods of the local population.  

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