Agriculture

DEEP HUMILIATING POVERTY

During 25 years of Museveni/NRM rule, the vast majority of Ugandans have descended into unbelievably humiliating poverty. For them everything has been wiped out. This is programmed poverty; Museveni has stated that poor people are easy to rule.

Poverty denies our peoples access to education, health and other facilities, and it locks those people and their offspring into perpetual cycle of poverty from which they cannot break out on their own. Such poverty breeds great bitterness and polarizes our people. The UPC cannot accept that vast majority of Ugandans to be condemned to such a deep and perpetual cycle of poverty. Programmes and investments aim to pull our people out of this humiliating poverty constitutes the top priority in this manifesto.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture remains critical to Uganda’s economic performance because the majority of the people (85%) derive their livelihoods from it. While growth has been fast in the industrial sector as it recorded a high of 20.3 percent growth rate in 1994/95, slowing down to 4.5 percent in 2005/06 (UBOS UNHS 2005/06), growth has been least in the agricultural sector with a growth rate that has remained within the 1.5 to 5 percent bracket over the past 10 years. Currently it is at 1.3 percent (Background to the Budget 2009/10).

Agriculture employs 73% of the labour force; and 75% of all households are engaged in agriculture; 85% of all the population derive their livelihood from it; and yet produce only 21% of the GDP. This situation signifies a major shift in which wealth is being siphoned away from the majority of Uganda’s population — those mainly engaged in agriculture who are mainly women (80%) — to the 5 percent of the population who are engaged in services and manufacturing. This shift partly explains high incidence of poverty among women.

Agricultural productivity has declined because the NRM government destroyed cooperatives, the Cooperative Bank, primary societies and agricultural extension services and abandoned agriculture. There is no investment in agriculture.

Objective

A revived and prosperous agricultural sector with increased production and growing rural economies benefiting from comprehensive assistance to farmers through the cooperative bank, cooperatives, primary societies paying fair prices for produce, resulting in enhanced food security, secure livelihood, and increased employment opportunities.

Significantly, reviving and investing in agriculture will especially benefit women and uplift them from poverty since women constitute 80% of the workforce in agriculture.

Plan and Commitment

• Increase budgetary allocation from the current 5% to 15%.
• Re-establish cooperatives and primary societies.
• Re-establish the Cooperative Bank and the Produce Marketing Board.
• Subsidize farmers by providing agricultural inputs like seeds, fertilizers, tractor hire and advisory services.
• Revive the network of District Farm Institutes to provide
agricultural research and extension services support through demonstration farms.
• Re-establish storage and processing facilities and put them in the charge of the

Produce Marketing Board.

• Develop and improve maintenance of feeder roads network, and upgrade critical community roads to district feeder
roads status, and feeder roads to trunk roads in order to open and ease transport in rural agricultural areas.
• Provide legal and regulatory framework for micro-finance institutions to make available funds for micro and small
agricultural processing ventures.

 
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