President Museveni calls for a National Agro Plan

Thursday 15th March 2012

President Yoweri Museveni has emphasized the need to have a National Plan for Agro-production in the country.

The President was last evening making remarks at the end of one of the on-going conferences on Poverty Eradication and Enterprise Selection for Central Uganda’s Greater Masaka zone, at State House, Entebbe. The Zone comprises the districts of Bukomansimbi, Kalangala, Kalungu, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Masaka, Rakai and Sembabule.

President Museveni explained to the participants the purpose of the conferences saying it was to close the gap in development that had been in existence for a long time. He added that the gap that needed to be fixed was that of 68% of the Ugandan population that is still engaged in subsistence agriculture.

“Everything else is moving, but this problem of 68% being in subsistence agriculture, is a very big mistake”, he noted.

The President pointed out that the root cause of that percentage that is still stuck in subsistence farming, stems from lack of empowerment by their leaders citing the Biblical adage of “a nation that has no vision will perish.”

President Museveni, therefore, called on the Masaka leadership to mobilise the masses to utilize whatever land holdings they have in their families for profitable enterprises. He also asked them to de-campaign land fragmentation practices that he observed render land uneconomic.

“There is now hope that we can rationalize agriculture in Masaka zone and other zones in Uganda. We have seen that fragmented pieces of land are now going to be used properly to earn a lot of money from the selected enterprises like in Masaka; coffee, fruits, pineapple, piggery, poultry, bananas and fish farming. Those in the peri-urban areas in Masaka can go in for mush-room and vegetable growing. So you must now campaign to end the practice of land fragmentation and if you want to change the mind of a person you must enter his psychology”, he advised.

He explained that once society has embraced modern farming, the people will not only improve their household incomes but will also increase exports, supply raw materials to factories that will be set up-providing employment to the youth and there will also be an expanded tax base and commercial farming will increase demand by groups like KACITA.

“What we have agreed here in the conference is a revolution on the road to modernity,” he said.

On the rationalization of agriculture, President Museveni directed the line commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to have a contract arrangement with farmers with big chunks of land to produce crops like maize that can be supplied to those areas that are fragmented.

On the use of illegal fishing gear, he asked the line Ministry to appoint a monitoring unit that will curb the practice on water bodies, as well as check on the fishing of immature fish.

The Vice President, Mr. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who is also the MP Masaka Central, thanked President Museveni for organizing the conferences. He called on participants to urge their people to adopt a culture of hard work.

“I would like to thank the President for convening these conferences to discuss issues of uplifting the lives of our people. You the participants, you have made a commitment, on behalf of your people, on ways to modernise their livelihood, sensitize them and insist that they must work to achieve the goal of living in modernity”, he advised Masaka leadership.

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