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Parish Development Model funding

Establish an integrated rural development bank instead for an appropriate rural transformation and self-sustaining economy

| MOSES HATEGEKA | Your Excellency,  President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, your NRM-led government needs to be urgently and appropriately freed from the excessive borrowing and uneconomical spending on public service delivery cycle that it is currently and is increasingly finding itself trapped in.

Uganda’s public debt which currently stands at slightly over Shs70 trillion (Approx. US$20 billion) according to the sources from the World Bank, Bank of Uganda, and Ministry of Finance, is a cause to worry.

The debt calls for government to do a comprehensive comparative study and analysis on the many past failed government programs of which your NRM-led government borrowed for and financed with trillions of money.  The analysis could show why they failed to uplift millions of Ugandans out of poverty and to make the economy to become as self-sustaining as it aspires to be.

An all-inclusive transformation is only realised when the programs designed to bring it about comprehensively capture, in their implementation strategies, the cultural obstructions and realities on the ground. These include the sector in which population majorities net a living from, which in Uganda’s case like in many African countries is agriculture that is largely small scale led and women dominated.

All the past government programs such as, Entandikwa, Bona Bagagawale, plan for modernisation of agriculture, and NAADS, failed to capture this basic strategy implementation scenario. And so has the ongoing Operation Wealth Creation program. The Parish Development Model (PDM) program being rolled out, has also made the same mistake, and is thus destined to fail.

Uganda is a highly patriarchal country in which majority of women do not own the land on which they farm. They thus do not have collateral to enable them access credit from banks, which would empower them to  acquire agricultural equipment like walking tractors, fertilisers, and other inputs for use in tilling and increasing their agricultural yields. PDM program does not address this cultural obstruction.

Establishment of an Integrated Rural Development Bank that mainly disburses interest free loans, with good pay back grace periods, to rural livelihood enhancement initiatives would be an ideal remedy.

Unlike PDM, an Integrated Rural Development Bank will be a highly respected and an established institution, established by an Act of Parliament. It would be professionally staffed to skill the targeted beneficiaries in production, marketing, saving, and growth strategies, on a sustainable basis. This, in turn, will make millions of women to flourish in their rural livelihood enhancement enterprises.

Professional skilling of the targeted beneficiaries in production, marketing, saving, and growth approaches, will also attract the youth to agricultural sector; especially in the value addition chain, which currently is dominated by old people with the average years of 55 and above.

PDM does not have professional training competencies and does not even have clear strategies of how to wholly make the agricultural sector attractive to the youth.

PDM has no production morale boosting strategy for farmers, such as  establishing communal post-harvest storage, poultry incubations and hatcheries, and other small scale value addition facilities. It simply intends to give a few selected farmers in a parish very small amount of money, which they are expected to pay back with interest. With this kind of intervention, rural farmers will continue to suffer post-harvest losses like it is today.

Establishment of an integrated rural development bank would change this scenario, as it will have the financial capacity to establish for farmers the post-harvest storage facilities, of which farmers can always access at a very small affordable fee.

With an integrated rural development bank, small scale farmers across the country, will in essence, have one unifier and capable financial negotiator.

The bank will negotiate for them with leading global agricultural equipment manufacturers such as, CLASS, John Deere, AGCO, among others. This will clear avenues of acquiring proper agricultural equipment such as A100-700 PS tractors, and other suitable agricultural machinery appropriate for small scale farming, which is all not possible with PDM program.

In sum, the absence of an appropriate agricultural funding model coupled with lack of collateral, has for decades been and is still, a hindrance to the country’s aspirations of attaining an integrated and self-sustaining economy.

The government thus needs to have a well-financed national and professional staffed institution dedicated mainly on attaining sustainable rural transformation. It would uplift millions of small scale farmers trapped in poverty cycles, through public-private collaborations that are friendly to these small scale farmers.

To attain this, government must urgently consider diverting billions of money in PDM program, to establishing an integrated rural development bank that will provide a sustainable, long term, national framework opportunity of attaining sustainable development that is all-inclusive.

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Moses Hategeka, is an Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer

Email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

One comment

  1. Okey. Thanks mr. Hategeka

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