Minister Sempijja: Revamping extension workers will boost agricultural productivity

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) has said a recent massive recruitment of extension staff in local governments across the country will boost productivity in the country.

A total of 3,032 extension workers were recruited and are currently being inducted before getting deployed in different areas of the country.

According to the agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja, government has embarked on recruitment of the extension workers as part of its implementation strategy to their commitment of strengthening extension services through a Spine Extension Service System.

He says farmers have been suffering losses in agriculture due to a lack of experts to assist them in monitoring, reporting and planning of the agricultural challenges like pests, diseases among others.

”As part of this recruitment, the extension worker to farmer ratio has since been reduced from 1 extension worker for 5000 farmers to so 1 extension worker to 1800 farmers; and the number of staff recruited has reached 3,032 extension workers” Sempijja said.

The recruited workers account for 60% of the targeted number of 5000 extension workers.

Extension workers who were laid off years ago, and now make a return will be stationed at Sub-county levels and worker closely with District Production officers and Coordinators.

Ssempijja says, they have put in place mechanisms to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of the work of extension workers

”Every month, they shall present families they have visited. We sent them money, pay salaries, given cars with fuel and also avail allowances for them; they will have to provide identification and telephone numbers of the families they have visited. This information shall be sent to the district and digitally stored for easy access” said Ssempijja.

Ssempijja also revealed that government shall continue to import tractors for use by local farmers. Between 2016 and 2017, government gave about 90 tractors to farmers in 10 districts.

The ministry is now set to open mechanisation centres to ensure easy access to this machinery by farmers in various parts of the country.