Members of Parliament on the Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have faulted the cooperative societies and district leaders in Kalungu for failure to manage the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP).
The committee led by the Vice Chairperson, Agnes Atim Apea, on an oversight visit to Kalungu District noted that the project has been mismanaged by district officials and the cooperative societies’ leadership.
A statement issued by the Parliament Information desk says that during the on-spot check of the project, the MPs noted that the facilities constructed for coffee processing do not conform to the set standards prescribed in the guidelines.
The MPs questioned the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer on why she did not halt the projects once she had seen the anomalies.
“There is inefficiency of the highest order because if you have a district engineer, your role is to supervise and from what we see here, there has been no supervision. And besides, the district has a commercial officer who is supposed to supervise the farmers and ensure they are keeping the books of accounts,” Atim said adding, “you cannot tell me you are coordinating a multi-billion project and you sit and watch this project stay the way it is now.”
In 2016, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries rolled out the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP) which was aimed at raising on-farm productivity, production, and marketable volumes of selected agricultural commodities in 57 districts.
ACDP is a six-year intervention partnership between the Government of Uganda and the World Bank intended to boost the commercial production of five prioritized crops.
A geographical cluster comprises an average of three districts that have proven production potential of at least two of the prioritized crops which are maize, Robusta coffee, rice, cassava, Arabica coffee and beans.
ACDP core beneficiaries were projected to be 450,000 smallholder farmers drawn from approximately 300 area-based Commodity Cooperative Enterprises (ACCE) and other chain actors at local, district and national levels.
ACDP is funded by the World Bank (US$150 million), the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (US$28 million) and contributions from the farmers themselves (US$70 million).
In Kalungu District, eight cooperative societies were supported with matching grants.
Patrick Mugabi, the District Agricultural Officer who also doubles as the ACDP focal person, however, denied that the project is being mismanaged, saying the successes achieved outweigh the challenges.
“The district has had a total investment worth sh3.2b which government because of the effective mobilization and sensitization, 7,143 farmers belonging to 320 groups have benefited from this project,” he said.
Frederick Muwanguzi, the farm’s organization specialist from the ministry, said that the eligibility criteria for selecting the groups to benefit from the project is bottom-top saying, the cooperatives supported were recommended by the district, but that the groups needed to have some money in the account and contribute 10 per cent or more to the project.