WILL AGRICULTURE BE ABLE TO SURVIVE WITH OIL AND GAS IN UGANDA?

Uganda is one of the countries in the world that has diversified resource endowments including the flora and Fauna species, its conducive weather and climate, home to fertile soils, ample rainfall and a number of vital natural resources. It hosts over 1000 bird species which is more than half the number of bird species hosted in the whole of Africa. Uganda is also blessed with over 27 more other resources approved by the mineral markets. These minerals include; gold, copper, cobalt, iron-ore, tungsten, tin, phosphate etc.

However, its latest discovery Oil and Gas makes me ask the question, will Agriculture be able to subsist with the Oil and Gas industry in Uganda? Even the leading producer of oil and gas in Africa, Nigeria, still has 9/10 people struggle to live on an income of 1$ (dollar) [per day and yet they have produced oil for over the last 30 years.

So the answer to the above question should be YES. Although, Oil and Gas is good for the growth of our country, the government should consider proceeding to modernize Agriculture, the most predictable investment in Uganda. It should be noted that 95% citizens of this country are directly employed in Agriculture and its comparative /competitive advantage is more favorable. In all we plan to do, let’s be mindful that Oil and Gas will shortly get depleted as compared to agriculture.

Surprisingly yet demeaning, some people still think Agriculture is an informal, traditional and backward sector. But for your information, we had better reconcile with our thoughts and re-drew researched conclusions. The gear should remain “the steadily increasing/growing global population with the increasing food demand. So, is this a traditional sector really?

Agriculture is the only sector Uganda’s GDP can depend on, through its exports than it should expect from oil and gas.

Please borrow inspiration from the following compilations!

Did you know that Uganda sits on half the total arable land in East Africa? This obviously puts us to a greater advantage for development over our sister countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

On 12th & 13th September 2015, Bukedde TV and TV West respectively broadcasted news sighting the increased market for Ugandan maize brand whose price has shifted from Shs550 to Shs750 per kilogram in Kisenyi market, a Kampala suburb following the stiff quantity of exports needed to Tanzania and Rwanda.

Furthermore, statistics show that Agriculture induced global growth to reduce poverty 4-6 times faster than any other sector? So this means that if our government and all citizens can harness their position and stand to support Agriculture, then Uganda can cause a global recognition over agro-based industries development.

According to a case study taken from China’s economy, successfully modernizing agriculture and transforming the rural economy over the last 30 years has provided the basis for its rapid growth as follows; from 1978-2008, china’s economy grew at an average rate of 9% with agricultural GDP rising by about 4.6% per year. Farmers’ income in the same country grew by 7% annually. As a consequence, China’s poverty incidence fell from 31% in 1978 to 9.5% in 1990, then to 2.5% in 2008.

Therefore, Uganda can even do better. This is because, China has over 200 million small scale farmers each working on averagely half a hectare of land as compared to Uganda whose population is over five times less than that of China. This allows individuals to utilize bigger lumps of fertile lands backed by favorable template climate for food production, all year potential harvests, more than three quarters of suitable cultivation geographical area, pastures for animals and bigger potential land for irrigation surrounding fresh water sources.

So why can’t we embrace the God given opportunity?

New Vision’s analysis on agriculture published on 13 May 2002 by Kikonyogo Ngatya, shows that 75% of the lecturers in the Faculty of Agriculture at Makerere University dislike their profession. It also indicates that many students admitted to agriculture-related courses in different tertiary institutions “feel their dreams are frustrated.”

The notion about agriculture has not changed even though some improvements have been made.

Please note that educated and uneducated Ugandan citizens have equal opportunities to thrive to a better life. The only difference is that; educated ones stand a better chance of getting the opportunity than the uneducated ones. However, as the educated ones use the quality papers, uneducated ones are working harder since their struggle to succeed is through sweat. Over 70% agriculturalists are the illiterate Ugandans. So why can’t we all analyze the field and up this game that will easily make us superstars?

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