Public Sector Provision of Free Agricultural Inputs in Uganda: The Rationale and Challenges of Operation Wealth Creation Programme

Tabaro Robert, Katusiimeh Mesharch


The paper analyses the rationale and challenges of public sector provision of free agricultural inputs in Uganda focusing on Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) programme. The programme officially started in 2014 and targets subsistence farmers in the country. OWC aims at commercialization of agriculture thus creating wealth and reducing poverty. It uses the military (Uganda Peoples Defence forces) to distribute and supervise delivery of inputs on the assumption that the army is efficient, organized and disciplined. The study was conducted in the new district of Sheema using purely a qualitative approach. We interviewed farmers, local leaders, opinion leaders and central government officials (key stakeholders) and conducted two Focus Group Discussions. Observation was also used to see how input distribution was being done. Our findings revealed that although OWC is well intended (creation of wealth and reduction of poverty at household level), it faces numerous challenges that hamper smooth implementation. The most common identified challenges were: small quantities of inputs supplied due to limited budget, poor quality inputs, elite capture and stringent entry requirements. Others are fear of the military by farmers, late deliveries of inputs and poor information flow between suppliers, district leadership and farmers. We recommend that government should increase agriculture sector budget, improve on quality of inputs and information flow between suppliers, district leaders and farmers but also fully involve the district leadership in programme implementation.

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