Approximately 70% of our population is employed in the agriculture sector of which around 60% of them are in subsistance farming (hands to mouth). This is based on the fact that agriculture needs semi-skilled labor making it possible for majority of our population to easily participate in the sector. This is as well supported by the fertile soils that we have as a country & a good climate.
Unfortunately agriculture which employs over 70% of our population only contributes less than 25% on our country’s GDP. This simply means that over 70% of our population contribute or share less than 25% of the nation’s wealth while around 25% of our population share 75% of our wealth. This explains the social & economic inequalities that have bled anger & frustration among the population. It also accounts for the widening gap between the rich and poor.
ANT with our slogan “people first a new future” as a guiding principle recognizes the fact that there is no country that can develop without developing it’s people, because without people there is no nation!
In recognition of that, ANT will make agriculture a top priority. This is on account of the comparative advantage we have in the sector over other countries, enough labour given that we a youngest country in the world, abandunt market both local & regional but also it’s a deliberate effort to empower majority of the citizens to uplift their lives.
According to Maputo declaration, Uganda committed to allocate 10% of it’s budget to agriculture, to date agriculture continues to be among the “unfunded priorities” with a paulty 3-4% of our budget allocated to it every financial year. Worse to note is that much of this money has been invested in poorly designed programs that are highly politicised which in turn are perceived as political rewards by the regime cronies. Part of such failed programs was NAADs & Operation Wealth Creation which inspite of billions they have consumed have nothing tangible to show.
ANT government will therefore invest a minimum of 10% of the national budget in agriculture as a starting point with a target of having 20% as the maximum in a few years to come. With this budget we shall adequately fund areas of research, farmer education & extension services, mechanisation, funding to the agriculture bank where farmers will access credit, irrigation, supporting agro based industries, controlling pests & diseases among others. ANT government will support the entire agriculture value-chain with intent to increase both the quality & quantity of what we produce.
Addressing land questions, stopping land grabbing & illegal evictions plus investing in protection of environment will also promote agriculture.
Encouraging & supporting farmer cooperatives will increase farmers bargaining capacity, be used to unite farmers to have a common voice, training them etc. It will also help in building strong Institutions at local levels that will participate in the development processes. With cooperatives as local production centres, farmers will participate in planning processes since ANT will use bottom up planning approach.
We are sure that when we improve agriculture & make it an attractive venture, we will attract capital from urban centres to rural areas hence creating jobs in villages thus reducing unnecessary rural urban migration which has resulted into slums, high crime rate, unemployment etc.
In ANT government, farmers will be empowered to do farming as a business, they will walk & move their high with pride because they will be having money in their pockets.
Tell a farmer to tell another farmer to support ANT & Gen Mugisha Muntu for President for a change we can trust.
Y MUHIMBISE .G.
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