Maaif cautions on influx of counterfeit agro-inputs

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Hon. Ssempijja addressing press

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has revealed an influx of counterfeit agro-inputs, citing steps to reverse the trend and cautioned the public against importation and trade in the same.

This was revealed by Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, while addressing press Thursday at Uganda Media Centre.

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries is committed to transforming the 68% population in subsistence farming into commercial agriculture thereby ensuring Food Security, Increased household incomes and Increased Exports.

The agriculture sector, which employs 65% of Uganda’s population and contributes 25% of the GDP, is fundamental to the Socio-Economic Transformation of the country.

The Ministry is committed to the delivery of this aspiration through its mandate to create an enabling environment in the agriculture sector including the development, delivery of National Policies, Strategies, Plans, Regulations, Standards, laws and enforce them along the Value Chains of Crops, Livestock and Fisheries.

While executing our mandate, we are faced with an escalating influx of counterfeit agro-inputs including Pesticides, Acaricides, Fertilizers, Seeds, Vaccines among others onto the Market by both Certified and uncertified Suppliers which is directly affecting the National Economy and I would like to update the country as follows:

Crop Sub-sector

The Ministry has consistently undertaken to stop Counterfeits in Agro-inputs with various interventions and some achievements have been made.

In April 2019, Counterfeit Fertilizers and Seeds were ceased by the Agriculture Police with the MAAIF Enforcement Team in Masaka region. Four different types of Fertilizers (NPK, CAN, SSP& DAP) and 83 Metric Tons of expired Seeds were impounded.

The matter was handed over to the Uganda Police Force and the suspects have been apprehended to face the law. Many other similar arrests have been conducted around the country.

Livestock Sub-sector

The Livestock Sector has been hit by increasing cases of Tick Resistance and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The Ministry made arrangements to procure FMD Vaccines to reduce the disease incidence and processes were concluded with the best bidder to supply 500,000 Dozes.

FMD incidences escalated in most parts of the country despite increased vaccination which was followed with strict quarantine affecting the farmers in those areas.  The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries instituted investigations into the possible causes of the escalation of the disease. Preliminary findings allude to Counterfeit Vaccines and the matter has now been handed over to the Police for further management. The Police will provide more details in due course.

Action Taken

The Ministry of Agriculture has taken the following actions:

  1. Distribution of the Vaccines to the Farmers has been stopped with immediate effect and the Ministry Cold Room cordoned off by the Police.
  2. The Ministry has reported the matter to the Law Enforcement Agencies who are working together to bring this matter before the Courts of Law.
  1. The Government has made arrangements to directly buy the Vaccines from the Manufacturers.
  1. The Ministry is aware of all livestock farmers that have been victim to this seemingly counterfeit vaccine and will prioritize the delivery of the correct vaccine to these farmers within the next few weeks.
  1. The Ministry is developing a traceability system of all the agro-inputs from the Factory to the Farmers among other initiatives.

Caution

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries appealed to the General Public to join the fight against this vice that is directly attacking our economy by referring any suspected counterfeits to the nearest Police Station or The Ministry of Agriculture offices for verification.

MAAIF reiterated its commitment to this fight against Counterfeits which is synonymous to fighting economic sabotage given the fact that Uganda is an agrarian economy.

This serves as a strong Warning to all those that are involved in or considering their involvement in the supply of counterfeit agro-inputs to desist from the practice as the long arm of the law will catch up with them.

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