UGANDA: ARCHBISHOP ODAMA LAUNCHES COMMERCIALIZATION AND INDUSTRIALIZATION OF AGRICULTURE PROJECT

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The future of agricultural mechanization lies in the hands of children
“I am most glad to address and thank God for giving me the opportunity to thank the President of Uganda, General Yoweri Museveni, for accepting to partner in this undertaking with the Church for the commercialization and industrialization of agriculture in northern Uganda. This brings true and lasting unity among the communities and demonstrates that genuine partnership with government and the church is possible”-Archbishop Odama.
“Despite the fact that he was an orphan who dropped out of school in senior one, he did not relent. When he was faced with the challenge of weeding his cassava fields, he had to sell his only asset of a motorcycle in order to raise money for weeding. His cassava is doing very well and is expecting to reap big after harvest”- Rev. Fr. Okun-Lagoro.

PADER-UGANDA: Twenty-three year old orphan school drop-out, Mr. Tony Ocan, is already a leading cassava farmer in Acholibur Parish Project (APP) meant to empower the local community economically; to enable them support the church in return.

Mr. Ocan is one of the 6,900 registered farmers in the project area of Acholibur, Latanya, Pajule and Lapul sub-counties in Pader district who were supplied with 40,000 bags out of 100,000 bags of cassava cuttings by Operation Wealth Creation (OWC); an initiative of General Yoweri Museveni for wealth creation at household level.

Each farmer was supplied with cassava cuttings enough to plant two acres of cassava. In the case of Mr. Ocan however, he convinced some of the farmers and bought off their cassava cuttings and scientifically planted a total of ten acres of cassava.

“Despite the fact that he was an orphan who dropped out of school in senior one, he did not relent. When he was faced with the challenge of weeding his cassava fields, he had to sell his only asset of a motorcycle in order to raise money for weeding. His cassava is doing very well and is expecting to reap big after harvest”, says chairman of APP, Rev. Fr. Mathew Okun-Lagoro.

Father Okun-Lagoro made these remarks on Thursday, December 20, 2018, on the first anniversary of APP presided over by the Deputy Commander of OWC, Lt. Gen. Charles Angina. He says as a Church, they have welcomed this project and intends to roll it out throughout the Archdiocese of Gulu.

Archbishop Dr. John Baptist Odama appealed to the farmers to be a role model for the Church in Gulu Archdiocese and throughout the country in demonstrating the right way for the State and Church to cooperate.

“I am most glad to address and thank God for giving me the opportunity to thank the President of Uganda, General Yoweri Museveni, for accepting to partner in this undertaking with the Church for the commercialization and industrialization of agriculture in northern Uganda. This brings true and lasting unity among the communities and demonstrates that genuine partnership with government and the church is possible”, says Archbishop Odama.

According to Ms. Daisy Eresu, the officer in charge of cassava plant in the ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the government has replicated the project in six other sub-regions of Uganda.

“I want to thank the Archbishop for coming up with this project because it is the people’s initiative unlike most government projects which are initiated from the top. Using cassava, we can have food security and also industrialize faster. Cassava produces ethanol which is used in industries”, says Ms. Eresu.

Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, who represented General Caleb Akandwanaho, aka Salim Saleh, the Director of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) said this project must ensure that no homestead in northern Uganda has poverty.

“This is group dynamics and we support you in this project, which does not bring conflict when we begin to support the group. God is on our side and that we must win this war of fighting poverty among our people. Don’t be left out of the project”, said Lt. Gen. Angina.

He assured the farmers that the 200 pairs of oxen plus 200 ox-ploughs will be delivered in the next rainy reason, which normally falls around mid-March, 2019.

“We are going to bring mechanization of agriculture because you still have vast tracks of land”, says the General.
There has been several initiatives to fight poverty by government since General Museveni came to power 32 years ago but most of them were mismanaged through outright graft, notably Entandikwa, NUSAF, NAADS, PRDP, etc.
It is with this background that General Museveni initiated OWC, and appointed his younger biological brother, General Salim Saleh, to command it; where army veterans distribute free agricultural inputs and seeds to farmers. Many beneficiaries have accused it of distributing these inputs late.

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