“Adopt commercial farming to Fight poverty” – President to Ugandans

Saturday, May 11, 2019

President Yoweri Museveni has advised Ugandans to abandon subsistence agricultural production in favour of commercial profit oriented farming not only to get rid of poverty in their homesteads but also to generate employment.

Addressing a public rally at Nyarukoma Primary School grounds in Nyantungo Sub-County of Mwenge South County in Kyenjojo District of Tooro Sub-Region yesterday, the President said that in the modern times, which is characterized by overlapping modern demands, subsistence production outside has made majority of Ugandans languish in abject poverty.

He advised the people of Uganda to grow high yielding produce like coffee and fruits on top of engaging in dairy, fish, poultry, piggery, onion and mushroom farming because the country has suffered the negative effects of land fragmentation due to poor inheritance rites. He reminded the people of Kyenjojo District in particular and Uganda in general that that poverty and unemployment are closely related. He observed that if entrepreneurs start business ventures in sectors like agriculture, services and industry, their ventures generate employment for others.

Mr. Museveni cautioned against the tendency to mix government development programmes and household income. He asked the people to make use of the Government development progrmmes that have yielded numerous infrastructures like roads, electricity, etc to generate household income. He also strongly warned against continued land fragmentation adding that the practice will make the country poorer. He, therefore, advised parents not to divide their land holdings and other properties among their children but rather form family companies so that children share financial dividends from the production activities from their consolidated pieces of land.

The President said that as government continues establishing several industrial parks and creating a conducive investment environment for industrialists all over the country, wananchi should be encouraged to engage in production of raw materials for the many upcoming industries.

Earlier, President Museveni commissioned newly constructed Nyakana Road in Fort Portal Municipality. It is one of the many roads that are to be constructed in the Municipality under the Uganda Support to Municipality infrastructure development programme whose aim is to enhance institutional performance of Local Governments with a view to improving urban service delivery. The Programme covers 14 Municipalities countrywide.

Speaking after the road commissioning, the President reiterated government commitment to better road network in the country. He said that what has already been done, is a pointer to the good work that the NRM is doing in the establishment of infrastructure.

He assured Fort Portal Municipality residents that all their roads will be worked on saying government cannot afford to work on big border-to-border road projects and fail to do a few Municipality roads. He, however, asked the people to understand and appreciate the NRM Government’s method of work that hinges on prioritization because all programmes, necessary as they may be, cannot all be done at the same time. 

Later in the evening, President Museveni briefed the media at a press conference, on the government strategy to overcome household poverty. He said the issue of value addition is high on Government plan, the more reason, he added, why there is development of several industrial parks across Uganda. He said that as the country has solved the problem of power shortage and improved road network, the remaining work is to build the standard gauge railway so that the cost of doing business is lowered.

He expressed strong conviction that with the improved infrastructure, excellent investment policies and peaceful environment, Uganda will surely attract more investors who will help in the processing and value addition to the country’s products.

President Museveni described as illegal reported demands for collateral security from people who want to access poverty eradication funds from programmes like the Youth and Women Funds. He said that to stamp out the misuse of programmes’ funds, the Government was considering channelling the funds through professional SACCOs that are involved in the same trade. 

He clarified that big commercial borrowers in the tourism and industrial sectors that require substantial commercial loans can borrow low interest loans from the Uganda Development Bank (UDB). 

Regarding commercial banks that make it difficult for people to access government funds that go through those institutions, the President said government had resolved to have such funds go through UDB or any other government bank for wananchi to access those funds. He also castigated those who continue levying fees in UPE and USE schools and reminded them once again that the programmes are meant to benefit children of the poor. 

Regarding Kilembe Mines in Kasese District, President Museveni said government is in the final stages of getting an investor to revamp the mines. He added that the bidding process is already complete.