UGANDA: LoP DECRIES LOW AGRICULTURAL SECTOR BUDGET AS UNIVERSITY WANTS SECTOR ATTRACTIVE

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Mr. Robert Kabushenga (in sun glasses) with Betty Aol Ocan inspecting stalls.

“My position as Leader of Opposition is to tell government where they are not doing well. Agriculture is one of the sectors that should be prioritized but unfortunately this is not so. We should be allocating 10% of our national budget to agriculture but unfortunately we have never gone beyond 2%. We don’t prioritize our budget. Uganda is still poor and we must cut down on extravagance”

“We have ‘fertility’ to maximum but the challenge is; how do we transform this land into the food basket of East Africa? What is the future of food in Uganda? Traditional knowledge is being sidelined. Take the example of ‘Lamola’ indigenous seed which is potential for medicine. I would like to see somebody to research on ‘Lamola’ and do conflict management. Gulu University should lead in producing organic food”.

GULU-UGANDA: The Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Uganda’s parliament, Ms. Betty Aol Ocan, has faulted government for extravagance by allocating more money in the national budget to the security sector as classified expenditure  than to the agricultural sector and yet the country is no longer at war. She appealed to government to set their priorities right and avoid extravagance.

Agricultural sector that largely remains subsistence employs over 80% of the population and contributes over 25% of the total revenue the country earns.  Most of the produce is exported to the neighboring countries without value addition while a small percentage is processed and exported to International markets.

“My position as Leader of Opposition is to tell government where they are not doing well. Agriculture is one of the sectors that should be prioritized but unfortunately, this is not so. We should be allocating 10% of our national budget to agriculture but unfortunately we have never gone beyond 2%. We don’t prioritize our budget. Uganda is still poor and we must cut down on extravagance”, says Ms. Aol Ocan.

Ms. Aol Ocan made this remarks at the start of a two-day National Agri-entrepreneurship Symposium organized by Gulu University which was held at the University’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment on Tuesday May 28, 2019. It was held under the theme: ‘The role of higher education and private sector in enhancing agri-entrepreneurship and community transformation.

She appealed to government not to put so much on ‘classified expenditure’ than on agriculture since we are no longer at war, saying Ugandans would not be lacking so much if the government can reduce on wasteful expenditure.

“We need more agricultural extension workers who should be paid well and they should be able to teach farmers the right agricultural practice. This culture of giving out ‘political handouts’ to our supporters will never empower people”, says the legislator.

The Member of Parliament for Gulu Municipality, Mr. Lyando Komakech, appeals to Gulu University to take lead in producing organic food through doing extensive research on indigenous seeds instead of GMO seeds. He says although the region has fertile land which is in abandon the people are still poor and suffer food insecurity, saying the University should transform the region into food basket of East Africa.

“We have ‘fertility’ to maximum but the challenge is; how do we transform this land into the food basket of East Africa? What is the future of food in Uganda? Traditional knowledge is being sidelined. Take the example of ‘lamola’ indigenous seed which is potential for medicine to enhance manhood. I would like to see somebody to research on ‘lamola’ anddo conflict management. Gulu University should lead in producing organic food”, says Mr. Komakech.

Mr. Robert Kabushenga, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the New Vision Group, who is also a commercial farmer says the educated members of the community has a patriotic duty to lead the uneducated members in doing the right thing as far as agriculture and farming is concerned.

“Why do we want agriculture to be more difficult than office work? You must have a purpose for your business. Until you see me farming, you cannot believe me. I grow coffee, bananas and keep fifty cows in order to keep the amount of manures for my business. Unless we practice what we talk about, you cannot convince others to join the trade. We need to teach our young people that it is important for us to have some productivity”, says Mr. Kabushenga.

He appealed to the educated people in northern Uganda who have money to concentrate in growing and processing crops like millet and sesame (simsim) for international markets. He says he is looking forward to seeing a millet billionaire in northern Uganda instead of dreaming about office work.

 

 

 

 

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