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District leaders fault OWC agro-industrialization program on job creation

 

FILE PHOTO: OWC agro-industrialization

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Authorities from various districts in the country have faulted the Agro-industrialization campaign under the Operation Wealth Creation-OWC program, saying it cannot save Ugandans from poverty and unemployment.

OWC through the National Agriculture Advisory Services–NAADS introduced agro-industrialisation with the aim of creating jobs and increasing house hold incomes.

The program extends support to beneficiaries to establish fruit processing facilities through provision of agro machinery such as tractors to farmer organizations.

The program targets up to 68 percent households, which haven’t been able to make income on account of either fragmented pieces of land or lack of land completely.

However, district officials say the concept only aims at establishing factories without considering production and market for the products they will produce.

Matiya Kigongo, the Buikwe district LC V chairperson notes that the government has been providing poor quality seeds of fruits such as mangoes, pineapples and mangoes among others, which has led to poor quality harvests.

The Mukono district LC V chairperson, Andrew Ssenyonga wants government to consider establishing factories depending on the agricultural produce in a given locality.

He says the priority for Mukono for instance, would be cocoa, vanilla and coffee, which are produced in large quantities.

Their Mpigi counterpart, Clever Muturuza says apart from the limited produce to cater for the factories, government is introducing equipment such as tractors of poor quality to dig in certain farm gardens.

Kennedy Baguma, the chairperson National Nursery Operators of Uganda observes that the government has relaxed in distributing seedlings to locals.

He says factories will lack sufficient raw materials comparing on what they produce in nurseries and what is given out.

However, the Dr. Sam Mugasi, the Executive Director NAADS asked local government leaders to embrace the program instead of discouraging it.

“We are engaging land lords in many parts of the country to offer redundant land to willing farmers at affordable prices. Many Ugandans are interested in farming but they lack land. Once we solve this issue production will have to increase,” Dr. Mugasi said.

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