What you need to know:
- Busoga is the biggest sugarcane producing sub-region in the country and farmers are currently grappling with low prices of their harvests. The price of a tonne of sugarcane has dropped as low as Shs150,000 from Shs250,000.
President Museveni has discouraged farmers with pieces of land as small as four acres in Busoga Sub-region from growing sugarcane saying it is unprofitable.
During the 43rd Tarehe Sita celebrations at Bugweri District headquarters on February 6, President Museveni said he has witnessed hard work of the people of Busoga, especially those growing cassava, rice and sugarcane.
“As I was coming here, I saw [that] you are working hard. I have seen you are growing muwogo (cassava) [and] sugarcane. You are working hard. But I want to do things with ekibalo (calculation). Because if you have four acres or less, you can’t get enough money from sugarcane. But I will come back and we talk about it,” President Museveni said.
Busoga is the biggest sugarcane producing sub-region in the country and farmers are currently grappling with low prices of their harvests. The price of a tonne of sugarcane has dropped as low as Shs150,000 from Shs250,000.
The farmers have also embarked on rice growing, given the abundance of wetlands, but President Museveni ordered them to leave because it affects the environment.
“You are planting crops that are meant for dry land [in wetlands]. And you are getting little money. I will come back for a regional tour. And when I come back, I will come with facts which we have done in Rimoto Wetland in Pallisa [District],” he said.
He further said in Rimoto, they persuaded people to leave the centre of the swamp to the edges and made fish ponds there and that the wetlands recovered after that.
Economy and security
On the economy, he said it has grown but could grow more if there was no corruption.
“Due to the correct ideas of the NRM (National Resistance Movement) government, the economy of the country has progressively grown. That is why the economy has grown so much but it could grow more if we get rid of corruption. You must fight the corrupt people and also fight the ones who don’t care,” the President said.
“On the side of security, we are going to tighten it. We have a strong army, the police, prisons and intelligence services, as well as the Uganda Wildlife Authority. They are all very capable and educated. Now because of that, these army people learn very quickly, so it is very easy for us to build a strong force,” he added.
President Museveni also said Uganda has a very good working relationship with the governments of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, adding that as partners, they are working towards achieving a regional solution to deal with the regional security problems.
“I am glad the delegation of Algeria is here, these people have got very good technology. When I visited them, they gave me some samples. I want to buy more to simplify security. Like for instance, you have seen how cameras work, we are now going to introduce electronic vehicle number plates so that we don’t waste time with investigations,” he said.
The President lauded the people of Busoga for taking part in the 1981-1986 liberation struggle that enabled the current government to come into power.
“I salute the people of Busoga who participated in our struggles and sacrifice. The people who were getting medals here today [yesterday] comprised some of the children of the people who were killed by Idi Amin. Idi Amin executed in public here in Jinja by firing squad,” Mr Museveni said.
The First Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the minister for East African Community Affairs, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, asked the President to introduce mineralogy courses in universities around Busoga to exploit minerals in the sub-region.
Ms Kadaga asked that scholarships in mineral extraction courses should be awarded to the people of Busoga Sub-region too.
She also asked the President to direct the army engineering brigade to complete the Bugweri District headquarters, which the late Kirunda Kivejinja had started to construct, but didn’t complete.
“I will involve the UPDF Engineering Brigade to come and construct this administration block as requested,” Mr Museveni said.
The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, said the fishing community in Busoga wants the government to extend loans so that they are able to purchase proper fishing gear in order to abandon the illegal ones.
He further reported to the President that the people of Jinja City are experiencing land grabbing problems, especially around government facilities such as health centres, which need intervention of the government.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Wilson Mbadi, said people should have a dream of leading Uganda but not that of destabilising the peace.
“We can continue to promote democracy now to the extent that anyone can dream of leading this country but not to destabilise it because we have built both capacity, strategic forces and participate in regional stability,” he said.