Gen Katumba Wamala Tips On Agricultural Investment

Uganda’s Vision 2040 is unachievable without increased funding to agriculture and change of attitude, General Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defense Forces has said. In April 2013, President Yoweri Museveni launched Vision 2040 that was developed by National Planning Authority and other government Institutions.

Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala.
Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala.

The Vision 2040 states that in 30 years from now the country will have transformed from peasant to a Prosperous State. While launching Vision 2040, Museveni noted that he is optimistic that the vision is achievable with oil and gas money. The Vision 2040 is also focuses around strengthening the fundamentals of the economy that harness the abundant opportunities across the country.

But General Katumba Wamala, the Chief of Defense Forces is skeptical that Vision 2040 will be attained with the current level of investment in agriculture by both citizens and government.  He explains that, majority of Ugandans are still involved in rudimentary agriculture and are dependent on nature, which he says affects their output.

He says despite the repeated claims that, agriculture is the backbone of the Ugandan economy; there is little investment in the sector. The general who studied at Bukalasa Agricultural College says that, during his recent visit to Somalia he was ashamed to discover that, despite being embroiled in war, Somali nationals were involved in commercial agriculture.

He says individual farmers use irrigation and are able to sell their produce to Middle East countries. Katumba also said that, he was shocked to learn that 75% of pork products sold in Uganda are imported from South Africa despite a favorable environment for piggery.  On Oil discovery, Katumba noted that Oil alone cannot develop a nation if workers and Citizens have nothing to eat in homes.

Christine Anyait, the Principal of Bukalasa Agricultural College concurs with the General saying there is need to invest in agro processing for value addition.

Local leaders and farmers accuse government of ignoring the agriculture sector, which they say has made it to lag behind. Sam Sserujongi, the Katikamu Sub county LC 3 chairperson says although government is distributing seeds to farmers through the army, there are no technical staff to advise them on planting, harvesting and changing environment, which may affect the program.

Sserunjogi says agriculture colleges like Bukalasa had demonstration farms where farmers could go and learn farming skills but they are now shadows of their past due to underfunding. Suzan Namubiru, a resident of Bunyaka village says they are battling with pests that are killing crops but the government has done little to save them something that may plunge the country into food insecurity.

She also decries lack of markets for their produce. In 2014/15, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning allocated only UGX 473.3 Billion about 3.3% of the UGX 15.05 trillion national budget to agriculture. The ministry also slapped more taxes on agriculture inputs drawing protests from farmers.

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