Mukono- President Museveni has said he entrusted the role of transforming agriculture across the country with the army to help “my veterans” fight poverty.
The National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads), the programme for commercialising agriculture, was hitherto a task of civil servants.
Speaking yesterday in Namugaga village, Mukono District, Mr Museveni said he was “tired” of veterans always crying out to him over poverty whenever he met them.
The President said on a recent tour to Nakaseke District, he found most of the soldiers he commanded in a disconsolate state, which formed part of the decision to co-opt soldiers to take over the operations of the Naads programme.
“I was recently in Nakaseke, where much of the struggle was, and I found most of the people we were with, in poverty and we needed to help them. I was tired of my veterans crying of poverty,” Mr Museveni, who was speaking in a mixture of English and Luganda, said.
“These people (soldiers) are tested. So I decided that we should put a commander in each of the areas where we operated, and now it is working.”
The President, who was flanked by Youth minister Ronald Kibuule, also commissioned classroom blocks at Mukono High School and Namuganda Secondary School. He also toured several development projects in the area. Mr Museveni criticised residents for having passion for things like football other than projects that would help them out of poverty. “This (Naads) is our plan but the problem is that people don’t want to give us support; instead they are here supporting soccer and other things,” Mr Museveni said.
The President has previously said the Naads programme has failed completely and called for its immediate dissolution.
Speaking recently during the Heroes Day celebrations in Mityana, he said he would deploy soldiers in every constituency in the country and throw in a few civil servants to take agriculture to a whole new level. He gave an example of Luweero Triangle, the heart of his liberation struggle, under the supervision of his brother, Gen Salim Saleh, which has been a success story.
The President said his focus now is on improving individual household income to achieve wealth.
Under this programme, every family with enough land will have to grow an acre of coffee, fruits, and elephant grass (to feed cattle) and another for food. “You have to understand the difference between development and wealth. You can have the good roads, schools, and hospitals here but which don’t reflect your living standards. So, let us join hands to fight poverty,” said the President.