KAMPALA – The government has committed to finance a US$42.3m (Shs161.5b) Busoga livestock project, which is set to turn around farmers’ fortunes by increasing household income and ensuring food security.
The five-year project seeks to revitalize Kasolwe stock farm to international standard, introduce community breeding services and establish a functional market information system for smallholder farmers.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said in the next financial year, the government will include the project in proposals for the next budget, for Parliament to allocate.
“We want to assure you that projects of this kind must be supported financially…when the costing has been concluded, we shall look for the US$43m, put it in the budget and Parliament will appropriate,” said Kasaija.
The ‘revolutionising livestock farming in the Greater Busoga’ is an initiative of the Speaker, and meant to be applied throughout Busoga sub-region.
The project includes proposals to have a one-stop center for livestock inputs, offering free consultation services to farmers and procuring better breed livestock for distribution to farmers.
While launching the project on Monday, at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Kadaga said the project would lay emphasis on beef and milk production targeting international markets to end poverty in the sub-region.
“We are here to discuss the use of livestock for sustainable development specifically in Busoga sub-region to increase production and productivity,” said Kadaga.
Majority of farmers, she added, rely on the local breed, which disappoints them with weak productivity.
The project now seeks to provide improved local breeds targeting one million households but set to be rolled out to the rest of the country upon success.
Kasaija said government’s commitment to finance the programme is based on widespread poverty ravaging the region.
“Being the Minister responsible for this economy, I know rural Busoga; the level of poverty is very high. It is one way we can help our people in that part of the country to get out of poverty,” he said.
Agriculture Minister, Hon Vincent Ssempijja, said his Ministry would love to support such projects, were it not for financial constraints.
“As a Ministry [Agriculture], we would have wanted this yesterday (sic), but when it comes to finances, we get 7 percent but being a member of the Executive, I don’t want to go into these details,” said Ssempijja.
The event was attended by Karamoja State Minister, Hon Moses Kizige; Committee on Agriculture Chairperson, Hon Janet Okori-Moe Grace; a section of MPs from Busoga sub-region, diplomats and technocrats drawn from various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.