Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni has promised the already existing commercial farmers lower interest rates in order to expand their operations and up production.
The President made the revelation while delivering the State of the Nation Address to Parliament and the entire nation at Kampala Serena Conference Centre on Tuesday evening.
He noted that government has this year recapitalized Uganda Development Bank (UDB) with Shs50bn, a move that should lower interest rates.
He revealed that wealthy farmers don’t benefit from Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) activities since the programme focuses on transforming the 69% Ugandans engaged in subsistence farming.
“…we should remember that there are richer farmers who do not benefit from OWC. These need separate support through low interest money in UDB. They need this money to do bush-clearing, pasture development, water excavation, accessing chemicals for crop parasites, etc., etc. Part of the capitalization of UDB by government will do this. I have also discussed with PTA and SADC Banks on this issue,” Museveni said.
He added that Uganda shouldn’t be decrying effects of drought because the country has enough water.
He said it is high time Ugandans embraced irrigation.
“Objectively speaking, talking of drought is irrationality; the answer is irrigation,” the President said, adding that they are going to launch new irrigation schemes across the country.
He revealed that there are 130 micro irrigation schemes operating in various districts
“More importantly, working with industrialists, we are developing solar powered water pumps that can be used by individual farmers,” he said, adding: “I am looking forward to throwing away my diesel water pumps when the cheaper solar pumps are available. I could then irrigate my pasture and crops. With the diesel pumps, I have confined myself to only filling the cattle dips.”
He added that in order to supply the industries, Uganda’s agriculture must wake up and behave industrially.
“We, for instance, are now required to supply cattle for the abattoirs that are springing up and also supply the Chinese market where our people have got orders for beef where a Kg is now US$11.5. With 14 million cattle, this should not be a problem because you can easily sell off 20% per annum and it will not affect the national herd. 20% of the national herd is 2.8 million,” he revealed, adding that supplying a factory that needs 146,000 per year is not a problem. However, “somebody must concentrate those cattle so that the factory gets its 400 cattle per day that it needs. We have directed NEC to do this. Everybody should support them. Even private fatteners of bullocks can be licensed to feed these factories and also the export market.”