On November 5th, while at a public rally in Nakalama village, Iganga district, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP) blamed government for the soaring poverty rate in the Busoga sub-region.
Kyagulanyi cited a report released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on June 2, 2021, which identified the region as having the largest percentage of poor people at 14%.
According to the UBOS report, poor population planning and sugarcane growing, which takes almost two years to mature were cited as some of the leading factors in poverty in the Busoga sub region. This means the farmer goes almost two years without money in his pocket, thereby leading to financial starvation and underdevelopment.
Some sources have cited disunity among leaders within the region that interferes with community mobilization to embrace various government programs to promote wealth as a critical obstacle to poverty eradication.
For once, I got tickled when I heard Kyagulanyi preaching about poverty in Busoga rather than hatred; unfortunately, he forgot to provide possible but credible solutions to combat poverty among our people.
Unlike President Museveni, who is always mobilizing Ugandans to engage in income-generating activities to eradicate poverty, Kyagulanyi is known for preaching hatred and misinforming Ugandans about government programs.
Ideally, what Kyagulanyi did was a mere lamentation and he remained blind to government attempts and various initiatives to eradicate poverty not only from the Busoga region but the entire country.
As a matter of fact, the Busoga region is not the only area with a high rate of poverty. If it weren’t for political selfishness, Kyagulanyi and his cohorts would have advised Ugandans to embrace the Parish Development Program, which includes a four-acre farming approach.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is on record as having always mobilized Ugandans to adopt commercial farming with support from the government through Operation Wealth Creation, where billions have been injected.
Recently, President Museveni asked the people of the Busoga region to actively participate in various government programs to promote household wealth.
Like other political leaders, Kyagulanyi should be educated about the four-acre farming scheme being promoted by President Museveni.
Under the four-acre scheme, President Museveni pointed out commercial agriculture, industries (big or small), services (hotels, transport, professional services, shops, etc.), and ICT (Business Process Outsourcing, or BPOs) as the four sectors for wealth and job creation that his NRM party has been preaching to Ugandans since 1995.
H.E the President noted that 68% of homesteads in Uganda are still engaged in subsistence farming (growing crops only for food).
In the four-acre plan, he recommends seven activities on account of high returns per acre, per year.
- One acre for clonal coffee
- One acre for fruits (mangoes, oranges, and pineapples).
- One acre for food crops for the family (cassava, bananas, upland rice or irrigation rice, Irish potatoes, sorghum, or millet)
- One acre for pasture for dairy cattle (8 of them); poultry for eggs in the backyard piggly; and fish farming.
In one acre, coffee can yield Shs 18 million, fruits Shs 12 million, and milk Shs 8 million. “With poultry and pigs, the sky is the limit because, as long as you buy food for them, in the backyard, you can keep a large number of chickens and pigs.”
The President recommended that families with less than four acres can engage in poultry, piggery, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, some zero-grazing dairy cattle, apples, and grapes.
While families with 6 acres and above can use 4 acres for coffee, fruits, food crops, dairy farming, pigs, poultry, and fish farming. They can also produce low-value crops like sugar cane, cotton, tobacco, maize, etc. on the other two acres in addition to the high-value activities.
His 4th way is for plantation owners with a lot of land to use it for an industrial mono-crop: sugar cane, tea, palm oil, etc., with assistance from the government.
Hence, out of the seven ways of creating wealth and jobs, four are in agriculture. In one acre, coffee can yield Shs 18 million in fruits.
“With poultry and pigs, the sky is the limit because, as long as you buy food for them, in the backyard, you can keep a large number of chickens and pigs.”
The writer is a community development advocate, Dr. Arnold Wasswa Majid (PhD)