On July 13, 2018 Robert Abak, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Lira, led a team comprised of the District Agricultural officer, Senior Agricultural Officers of Lira District Local Government and the police on a due diligence exercise on agro-input businesses around Lira Municipality. This was a fact-finding mission to unearth counterfeit agro-inputs that continued to flood the seed market in Lira District, despite the dissemination and enforcement of the Lira District Ordinance Prohibiting Trade, Distribution, Use and Possession of Counterfeit Agricultural Inputs formulated in 2017. This was in a bid to promote access to quality seeds by small-scale farmers of Lira.
During this operation the team led by the RDC impounded 3,0006 kilograms of counterfeit Silla Sorghum and Sunflower seeds that was actually on sale in agro-input shops within Lira. This matter was formally reported to the Central Police Station (CPS) Lira and some samples retained as exhibits. The case was registered at CPS as L/CRB2702/18 Sale of Prescribed Seed under Different Name Some of the impounded seeds were stocked away in Lira District Local Government Store as evidence, on 14th/072018, the technical team from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) tested these seeds, and were all found to be counterfeits.
The above success resulted from a series of sub county-based dialogue meetings that culminated into a grand district dialogue that brought together sub county leaders and small-scale farmers from Agali, Amach, Barr, Ngetta and Agweng on 15th December, 2017. With support from the CEA Programme, FAPAD in coordination with sub county Platforms mobilized the bigger farmer groups formed with support from the CEA Program. FAPAD capacitated these Farmer Platforms with relevant knowledge and skills. The farmers using the evidence-based approach then used this knowledge to identify emerging issues limiting their access to quality seeds. The issues identified include; counterfeit seeds and other agro- inputs, Fake weighing scales used by agro-input dealers, Other issues include; Sales of expired agro- inputs, new variety of weeds introduced in adulterated seeds, e.g. “Okello ojee” that destroyed crops in Agali Sub County, Pests and diseases, Limited knowledge on post-harvest handling by farmers, Low market prices for agricultural produce, weak enforcement of the district ordinance and poor storage by agro-input dealers.
“Our engagements with FAPAD coupled with the enforcement of the district ordinance against counterfeit seeds, has made our work very easy because those days, we would only talk and nothing would happen but now, the dealers are scared and trying to follow the regulations”.
Robert Abak, Resident District Commissioner,
13 September 2018
The farmers then through their platforms a cross the five sub counties, lobbied for sub county dialogue meetings in which all issues that were never addressed at community gathering meeting s were raised for duty bearers’ action. Finally, only two issues were then forwarded to the district and these were; limited access to quality seeds due to weak enforcement of existing laws and absence of the national seed policy.
“I am very happy about the tremendous contribution by FAPAD and its partner ICCO. Their contribution is not only helping Lira but also the entire Lango sub region in promoting access to quality seeds for small -scale farmers. The CEA Programme needs to continue supporting this intervention because as Lira, we still need such initiatives. There is more commitment from District Leaders than ever in enforcing the relevant laws”.
Dorcas Alum, District Agricultural Officer
Lira District Local Government,
On 15th December 2017, district leaders, agro-input dealers, seed companies, small-scale farmers, media, CSOs and sub county leadership then gathered to listen to farmers issues on limited access to quality seeds during a district dialogue engagement meeting held in Lira town. Among these leaders included the RDC, LCV Chairperson, District Councilors, District Executive Committee members, and Members of the District Production Committee. All these political leaders committed to enforce the district Ordinance Prohibiting Trade, Distribution, Use and Possession of Counterfeit Agricultural Inputs.
Published with support from the Civic Engagement Alliance (CEA) Programme