The ministry for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries has observed the need to have a stakeholders’ meeting aimed at interrogating the never-ending poverty question in Busoga sub-region.
This was arrived at during the sector’s 4-days retreat at Kyankwanzi.
According to the sector’s minister Frank Kagyigi Tumwebaze, the ministry will have a special retreat at Kasolwe Stock Farm in Kamuli district where different stakeholders from the region will interact with the ministry on why poverty still persists in Busoga and the possible interventions that can be made to change the situation.
“I want to request that we have a meeting at Kasolwe. We must talk to all people concerned on this matter and they give us their views. Why is it that this situation persists?” He said before requesting the Senior Presidential Advisor on Busoga in charge of Poverty Alleviation hon. Florence Mutyabule to ensure that the stakeholders are fully mobilized for this meeting to take place.
Meanwhile, state minister for animal industry Lt. Col. Bright Kanyontole Rwamirama attributed the situation to poor attitude among some people in Busoga towards saving. He said that some of them have poor financial discipline the reason they don’t invest their savings but instead invest in women.
As a result, the minister said the Basoga end up having large families which they cannot sustain in terms of basic needs and land. He said high fertility rate among Basoga is the main cause of the poverty in the region, hence the need for sensitization on family planning and attitude change towards saving.
He said, it is very rare to find a Musoga man with a family of less than five kids but instead, most of them have more than 10 children.
“We must face facts as they are. The poverty in Busoga is caused by big families they have. You find a man with merely three acres of land but has 10 or 12 kids. Most of them lack financial management discipline. When he gets money, instead of saving to invest, he will end up marrying another woman. Myself here, I have four kids. I have done something for myself, I can still produce more kids but I am not doing so. But those Basoga, they will just produce and produce. These people must be told the truth. They live a reckless life. Therefore, attitude change is paramount” he said.
The issue of poverty in Busoga was ignited by the senior presidential advisor on Busoga in charge of Poverty Alleviation, hon Florence Mutyabule who attended this treat on request by Gen. Salim Saleh. Saleh is the coordinator of OWC.
In this meeting we understood, Mutyabule told the retreat that it was important for MAAIF to come up with a deliberate plan to study more closely the issue of poverty in Busoga and how best this sector can help arrest the situation.
Mutyabule ignited the fire.
“In the recent research by UBOS, Busoga again scored it’s usual position of being number one when it comes to poverty prevelance rate. We stood at 14.5percent compared to the rest of other regions. This shows something is lacking and MAAIF, needs to question this trend since most people are more familiar with it’s work. What haven’t you done? Are people being involved in your planning or you just dump projects to them?”
The meeting, speaker after speaker became concerned but also questioned why Busoga remains in poverty yet there are many big projects that have gone there. In addition, the meeting questioned the relevance of many top leaders from Busoga in government if their region continues to lag behind.
“There are many projects that have gone to Busoga in the name of economic empowerment. What has been their impact? Government sends a lot of funds to finance those beautiful projects but nothing changes! Busoga has had many big people in government, they have been asking for funds to help their region, but why is it that poverty is still high there? What have they done?” The participants queried.
Indeed, Busoga has had many big people including speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, NRM secretary General, minister for presidency, PPS in addition to several permanent secretaries and commissioners. Currently, the region has two deputy premiers and a number of ministers. However, the region continues to score badly in terms of national ratings on poverty reduction.
The retreat chaired by MAAIF minister Frank Kagyigi Tumwebaze resolved to hold a special retreat at Kasolwe Stock Farm in Kamuli district with all stakeholders to interrogate the poverty question in the region. The premier Robinah Nabbanja represented president Museveni and closed the retreat.