Agago district leaders reject NAADS cassava cuttings

Bags of cassava cuttings.

Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Agago district leadership has rejected 282 bags of cassava cuttings supplied by the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) for distribution to farmers under the Acholibur Parish Project (APP).

APP is an initiative of the Gulu Archbishop, John Baptist Odama, which started in 2017 with the purpose of commercializing cassava growing, boosting household incomes and food security in Acholi and Lango sub-regions.

In 2020, Gulu Archdiocese launched the mass production and industrialization of cassava growing in Northern Uganda in Acholibur town council, Pader district. On April 1st, 2022, NAADS contracted four individuals within the community to supply 8,072 bags of cassava cuttings worth Shillings 80.7 million for distribution to farmers in 117 parishes under the APP.

Each of the contractors was supposed to supply 2,018 bags of cassava cuttings. The respective bags were expected to have a minimum of 600 cassava cuttings. However, while receiving the cassava cuttings on Tuesday evening, it was realized that one of the suppliers bagged fewer cuttings in 282 bags resulting in a shortfall of 43 bags.

Sam Elem, the Agago District Agricultural Officer says that it requires seven bags of 600 cassava cuttings per bag.  Elem says distributing the bags below standard would disappoint the farmers who have already prepared their land for early planting.

John Bosco Oloya, the Agago District Works and Technical Services Secretary has condemned the suppliers, saying that the district had entrusted the local suppliers so that they benefit from the project.

Oloya adds that such dishonest practices discourage farmers who have embraced commercial cassava production to improve their livelihood. James Okidi, the Agago Deputy Resident District Commissioner asked the contractor to ensure that they bring the remaining 43 bags by the end of this week so that farmers plant early.

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