President Yoweri Museveni has called on the youth from Acholi sub-region to fight land fragmentation and instead use it more productively through modern agriculture to create jobs and improve incomes.
“I have been decampaigning breaking up of land. Land is not just for sleeping, land should be for work. We divide what comes from the land but not divide the land itself,” he said.
The President was addressing over 250 youth leaders from Acholi sub-region’s districts of Kitgum, Lamwo, Amuru, Pader, Agago, Gulu and Nwoya who had just concluded a study tour of models farms in Masaka and Mbarara districts. The youth visited St. Jude family projects and rural training for intensive integrated organic farming for sustainable agriculture facility in Masaka owned by model farmer Kiiza and another modern integrated farm owned by Rev. James Katamunanwire of Mbarara that specializes in brick-making, dairy cow production and banana production on small pieces of land.
“Modern agriculture is the key to everything else. That is want I want to see. The more sustainable way to solve some of the youth demands is to teach them modern agriculture so that they can earn incomes and solve some of the problems themselves,” he said.
The youth who had come with a list of demands for boda bodas, scholarships, money for SACCOs, jobs, oxen and ox-ploughs etc however changed their minds after the tours and urged the president to empower them with start-up capital including Oxen, ploughs and materials such as piglets to kick start their projects. Led by their coordinator Alema Joyce, the youth who spoke in turns said they want to use the knowledge they have acquired to exploit their land back home. Some of the issues that they identified as important included enterprise section and mix on small land pieces, water collection methods to mitigate drought seasons, value addition using solar methods and milk production using heifers.
The President said that government will restock the Aswa ranch and Waligo centre to use them as a multiplication centres for cattle that can also be given in turns to other youth as ox for their ploughs.
“If we solve the question of household incomes, the rest will be easy. The model farmers who have engaged in modern agriculture and build permanent houses have solved the problem of water themselves without waiting for government. There is water everywhere on our houses but because we have no money, the water falls and goes to the swamp, then our mothers follow it there. Even when government builds a borehole, it will be in the centre for the whole community and people still have to walk from their homes to get it,” he said.
The President said initially his office had facilitated a few youth leaders with iron sheets and cement because of the problems of the war that had affected the region, but added that government will find a more sustainable way of supporting the youth including training them in various modern production projects.
The meeting which was held at the Presidents Country home in Rwakitura was attended by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi.
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