Monday, November 29, 2010

Besigye promises tractors for every Sub County, Uganda

In this November 18 Daily Monitor article, Ronald Tumusiime reports from Kibaale about Dr. Kizza Besigye's determination to invigorate Uganda's agriculture as soon as he enters State House

The opposition coalition presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has pegged his election campaign on a promise to undertake an agricultural revolution by providing tractors to every sub-county in order to promote commercial farming.

Speaking at various rallies in the mid-western Kibaale District, the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) flag bearer, announced plans to build silos in Uganda’s different regions to stabilise supply and prices of food commodities during scarcity and surplus, respectively, if elected president. 

“I will establish reserve stores for farmers to address issues concerning hunger and food security in the country,” he said, before revealing other plans to construct irrigation dams to serve during drought.

This is the first time that Dr Besigye, who has previously promised his government would allocate 15 per cent of the national budget to agriculture, has offered finer details on turning things around in a sector providing livelihood for the majority Ugandans.

“During my tour of Bunyoro,” he said, “I have discovered that the food produced by farmers lack markets due to the low market prices. I want, if elected, to invest in factories and revive tractors at sub counties for hire services by farmers.”

The main agricultural commodities produced in Bunyoro region include maize, rice and ground nuts.
Candidate Besigye said his government will establish a National Bank of Agriculture to provide soft loans to spur commercial farming. He asked voters in Bunyoro region not to cast their ballot for President Museveni whom he said has “deliberately impoverished” the Banyoro by denying them vital public services, citing the broken road infrastructure and lack of market access.

The IPC candidate said Busoga, which is infested with jiggers, holds the “headquarters” of poverty in the country while the mid-western enclave, where vast quantities of oil were recently discovered, is the “vice headquarter”.

Dr Besigye added that the broken road infrastructure and lack of market access impair otherwise vibrant commercial farmers in Bunyoro from progressing.

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