She said the inaccurate data was confusing farmers.

 weather stations
weather stations

?How do you tell us there will be rain and we end up without rain? [That] it will be sunny, then we get much rain. This is confusing farmers.?

The furious legislator pointed out that farmers in the country plant according to data of forecasts provided by meteorologists.

?Meteorologists tell farmers to plant when it rains but it doesn?t rain. Do we have an accurate functional weather station??

She added: ?The farmers end up in disaster as the advice given by meteorologists doesn?t yield any fruits.?

Unfounded claims

But Deus Bemanya, the acting director in charge of applied meteorology and data climate services denied the allegations, when contacted by New Vision, saying 80% of their weather prediction is accurate.

?Our accuracy on weather forecasts is at 80% and I am proud of it,? he said.

He explained that after they have made the forecasts the farmers are informed what type of crops they are supposed to plant and this information is translated into 20 local languages.

He said the claims by the legislator are unfounded and baseless.

The meteorology boss however acknowledged that they have challenges which include lacking a radar and other expensive weather equipment.

He gave an instance where to set up a manual weather station, it would cost them sh40m ? with 500 such stations required across the country (sh20b).

More anger

In making her remarks, MP Kabahenda was speaking during the national inception meeting for project on upgrading quality standards in agriculture for Uganda maize and sesame (simsim) at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

The meeting was organized by Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI), aimed at devising ways of how to improve quality standards on maize and sesame so as to roll out the upgrading project for the two crops and its implementation.

Kabahenda, who is also the chairperson of parliamentary committee on tourism, trade and industry, was also angry with the ministry of agriculture for returning money meant for livestock to the consolidated fund for the last two financial years.

?Do we have a livestock department?? she asked adding that if they can?t absorb the money it should be transferred to crop department.

Jane Nalunga, the country director of Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiation Institute attended the meeting.

There, she pointed out that the government should assume responsibility on how to guide the nation in policy formulation that favours citizens, and instead not to hide under the cover of private sector led economy.

?If it?s a private sector-led economy then what is the role of the State?? she wondered.

She told the meeting that the intention of the upgrading project is to increase incomes on household levels and to ensure that they climb out of poverty.

Meanwhile, at the same meet, the deputy head of programme, World Food Programme (WFP), Koffi Akoubia stressed the need for harmonizing quality standards across the East Africa Community (EAC).

?What?s the point of Uganda?s certificate of quality standards if it?s not recognized by partner states?? Akoubia asked.

On his part, Makerere University senior lecturer Ndebesa Mwambutsya warned that if Uganda doesn?t improve on quality standards she stands to lose as her business people cannot penetrate the regional markets.

The meeting was attended by members of academia, WFP officials, MPs, USAID officials, East Africa Trade Mark country director Allen Asiimwe, farmers and members of civil society actors.

Francis Emorut, The New Vision


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