By Fred Kiva
District Chairpersons under their umbrella organization, Uganda Local Governments Association-ULGA have pledged to support President Yoweri Museveni’s efforts of transforming subsistence agriculture into commercial farming geared towards the rise in household income through the Operation Wealth Creation initiative.
According to a statement issued by OWC Public Relations Officer Maj. Tabaro Kiconco, this was during a one day meeting and tour of the Namunkekera Rural Industrial Park located in Kapeeka, Nakaseke district on Wednesday, where the district leaders were hosted by the Chief Coordinator of OWC, Gen. Salim Saleh.
The visit was intended for the leaders to explore areas of mutual interest where they can effectively cooperate in ensuring greater support and success of OWC, which is aimed at eradicating poverty, wealth creation and overall prosperity for Ugandans through facilitation of sustainable commercial agricultural production.
Speaking on behalf of the chairperson’s taskforce that had been formed by ULGA for the interface, Joseph Luzige, the LCV Chairperson of Mityana district said that a number of issues were affecting service delivery of government programs at district level and the meeting is a starting point in ensuring that the initiative achieves 100 percent success by partnering in addressing the challenges faced by Government programs.
“The challenges identified by the leaders included the need to have district-tailored support through providing inputs that are area-specific since each district has its own peculiar challenges; mindset and attitude change whereby youths who have shunned rural areas for urban life can be supported back into agriculture and rejuvenate cooperatives to enable farmers have mass production and access to soft credit,” Maj.Tabaro said in the statement.
He added that according to a study commissioned by Gen. Saleh and presented to the leaders, it was shown that subsistence farming is weak and it is continuously being pushed to a weaker position within the agricultural sector which has made it difficult for government interventions such as OWC to reach the intended beneficiaries.
“As such, the logistics hub concept has been proven as the best effort to empower the subsistence farmer and define the farmer’s relations in the value chain process. The concept concentrates efforts of all sector players in one place and consequently lowers the costs involved in agricultural production,” Major Kiconco explained.
Lt Gen. Charles Angina, the Deputy Chief Coordinator-OWC said in order for the hub concept to be successful, there will be formation of various committees from village level to regional level for accountability purposes which will allow farmers’ ownership of the resources involved in the production process.
While addressing the meeting, the ULGA president and Lwengo LCV chairman, George Mutabazi noted that district chairpersons have the capacity to influence the level of commercial agricultural output in the country through mobilizing the population to engage in productive agricultural activities.
As a result of the meeting, a resolution was reached to have a Memorandum of Understanding between OWC and ULGA which will be drafted and signed soon.
Addressing his visitors, Gen Saleh said that the most important factor in ensuring that the OWC initiative and the partnership with ULGA works is to focus on mindset change and be able to bring on board every Ugandan citizen to participate in wealth creation endeavors.
In his closing remarks, the state minister for agriculture Hon. Christopher Kibazanga noted that thinking big for the agricultural sector is the way to go, for the economy to grow.