By Henry Mulindwa
The NRM’s contribution to the agricultural sector has generally led to improved household incomes; says NRM research and mobilization group-Team Thorough YKM.
According to its deputy national coordinator in charge of mobilization and field operations Ainesasi Hillary, Agriculture has for a long time been the core sector of the economy. He says the sector has provided basis for growth in other sectors and significantly contributing to GDP, employment and food security.
“The NRM’s contribution to the agricultural sector has generally led to improved household incomes and an increase in the sector’s contribution to the country’s annual GDP as a result of agricultural exports” he says.
He adds that 32% of households today practice commercial farming and that this has led to food security, improved nutrition, increased household incomes and exports to international markets. Citing an example of 1986, where the per capita consumption of milk was 16 litres per person per annum, this has now increased to 50 litres per person per capita per annum. As for the consumption of meat, initially it was 4.5 Kg per person per annum in 1986, but now it is 6.4Kg per person per annum.
Ainesasi says that in 2013, over 35,000 farmers directly benefited from provision of improved seeds and fertilizers. In addition, a total of 13,500kgs of Arabica coffee seeds, beans, maize and rice were distributed to seed companies and farmers groups.
“To enhance water supply for increased production, there has been rehabilitation of irrigation schemes such as Mobuku, Doho, Agoro and Olweny” he says, adding that another innovation of NRM in the agricultural sector was introduction of agriculture financing through commercial banks. Through this, government availed Shs60bn while the commercial bank allocated Shs90 billion bringing in a total of Shs150billion available for financing of agricultural projects at a concessionary interest rate of 10% per annum for a maximum period of 8 years.
He says other government intervention programmes such as Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF I & II), Peace Recovery and Development Programme (PRDP) and National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and transformation of the people of Karamoja programme, have yielded commendable results for the population.
He says as a result of increased production in agriculture, a number of food processing factories have been established in the country, adding that because of Value addition; agriculture is beginning to attract the elite and big capital investments.
He attributed all these achievements to what he called result of good policies of NRM government under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni.