By Kampala Post Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has said that the outstanding challenge in Uganda is that of transforming wananchi from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming.
The President made the remarks at his country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhuura District when he received a delegation of members of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, led by the Archbishop of Kampala, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.
“Our challenge has been to transform the people of Kiruhuura and neighbouring areas from nomadism into sedentary agriculture. There is need to transform them from subsistence into commercial farming while working under calculations. I am happy to note that the people of Ibanda District have installed solar power while using their own resources,” he said.
President Museveni was speaking yesterday during a luncheon that he hosted in their honour after they had concluded a 2-day tour of projects in the neighbouring Ibanda District and in Kiruhuura District in South Western Uganda targeted at monitoring the progress in the NRM Government’s poverty eradication drive.
The delegation of the religious leaders that undertook the tour included the Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje, the Archbishop of the Province of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali, the Archbishop of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Pastor Daniel Maate and Bishop Joshua Lwere who is the General Overseer of the National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches of Uganda.
Mr. Museveni informed the clerical delegation that the people have been able to earn more income and as a result got the capacity to sponsor their children through education. He requested the religious leaders to return to the area and visit more people so that they may appreciate the achievements attained at the household level in line with the NRM Government’s programme of poverty eradication at the household level.
The President thanked Archbishop Kizito Lwanga for coordinating the tour. He informed his guests that he, along with other students, started the campaign against poverty at the homestead level in the Sub-Region in the early 1960s. He said it was a difficult task because people who led nomadic life occupied the area. He, however, revealed that by 1970 they had succeeded in eradicating nomadism but had to stop their efforts to launch the struggle against the Idi Amin regime. He added that they resumed the struggle against household poverty after the Movement Government came to power in 1986.
The President further explained to the delegation of the religious leaders that in 1986, he concluded that the Sub-Region could not get out of poverty by rearing the long horned cattle as that breed of cows was not good for the small scale farmers. He, therefore, proposed to the small-scale farmers to only rear the improved dairy cattle that yield more milk.
The President told his guests that Rushere Town, which is along the Lyantonde- Ibanda – Kamwenge – Fort Portal Road, and about 10 kilometers from Rwakitura, has got 78 milk cooling plants which is a sign of success.
“My interest is to ensure that the people who are not educated can stop subsistence farming and embark on commercial agriculture,” he reiterated.
President Museveni noted with concern the challenge of land fragmentation among a number of people in society especially after the death of heads of families. He termed the act as land disability and described land fragmentation practices as real danger to the country. He, therefore, urged the delegation of religious leaders to rally behind him in efforts to eradicate the retrogressive act of land fragmentation. He said that it was appropriate for the families to only share the proceeds accrued from their land and desist from the destructive practice of land fragmentation.
President Museveni told his clerical guests that once they accomplish the task of enabling the rural community, the NRM Government would proceed with efforts to solve the challenges of the urban population. He, therefore, urged them to spare time and visit more farmers in the cattle corridor.
Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga called on his fellow religious leaders in the country to work for the unity of the people and assured President Museveni that the faith-based groups in the country constitute a big army that will work for the eradication of poverty from households.
“You stormed Kampala; we want you to storm all the Districts of Uganda in efforts to eradicate poverty,” he said.
The Mufti of Uganda, Sheikh Shaban Ramadhan Mubajje said that they would spread the word of God but at the same time, sensitize the people on poverty eradication. The SDA Church leader, Pr. Maate saluted the President for the fight against poverty in the country.