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Uganda challenged to invest more in agriculture

by Grace Kisembo

Christianity activist in Uganda Apostle Dr. Joseph Serwadda has challenged government to increase the next national budget of 2018/2019 agriculture to 10% of the national cake.

“Government has continued to give agriculture only 3% of the national budget.

“Time has come for government to change its priorities and focus on sectors which will turn around the social-economic welfare of Ugandans,” Serwadda said

He said the country’s comparative advantage is in agriculture citing that the country’s exports will increase if the country invests more in agriculture.

Over 80% of Ugandans depend on agriculture, and Serwadda believes elimination of poverty in Uganda calls for government to put more resources in the sector.

Serwadda is the pioneer of end of year prayers in Uganda which have now been embraced by all Christian denominations.

With 43% of the entire East Africa’s arable land on which crops can successfully grow belonging to Uganda, Serwadda said the country has potential to become a global food basket.

“If government allocates enough resources to agriculture and Ugandans use modern farming technology like irrigation, mechanization and use of fertilizers under the guidance of extension workers, majority Ugandans will move away from subsistence farming and do commercial farming which will make them rich,” he elaborated.

During the last general elections campaigns of 2016, President Yoweri Museveni pledged that if he is re-elected as president of Uganda he would increase funding to NAADS from sh200b to sh1000b (1trillion). But nearly two years down the road of his current term of office, NAADS’ is still in the range of sh200b.

In addition, during a consultative budget conference organized by the Presidential Advisory Committee on the budget, the minister for agriculture complained that whereas the allocation to his sector is still small, even what it was allocated in the 2016/2017 budget was cut by sh108b.

In the 2018/2019 budget framework which parliament will start debating next month, the allocation to agriculture will slightly increase from sh825.5b to sh831.7b, which will be 3.8% of the total budget of sh29trillion.

The parliament budget committee chairman Amos Lugolobi says without giving the productive sectors like agriculture significant portions of the national budget, poverty, unemployment and other economic problems would continue.

“Whereas these productive sectors of agriculture, tourism, and industry are the key production sectors, they are the least funded in the national budget.

“We cannot get significant progress as a country without prioritizing those sectors in our budgeting,” Lugolobi said.

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