SOROTI – Teso region was in cheerful mood, as Vice President Jessica Alupo handed over tractors to different associations in the districts of Soroti and Katakwi.
A total of 20 walking tractors and 4 big tractors were handed over at separate functions held in Soroti and Katakwi respectively.
In Soroti, Alupo handed over a big tractor to the Teso Widows Development group, an association founded in 2003 with the current membership at over 36,000 widows from across Teso region.
In Katakwi district, the 3 tractors were handed over to three counties of Usuk, Ngariam and Toroma, each, received by a cooperative society.
The 20 walking tractors were handed over to each of the 20 sub-counties in Katakwi district.
Speaking to the recipients in a mix of both the local dialect and English, Vice President Jessica Alupo also woman MP Katakwi stressed the importance of utilizing these farm tractors to start planting early to increase production,productivity and food security.
The Vice President said that these tractors come at a time when people have returned completely from the Internally displaced peoples camps and should be helped to cultivate their land, which she said, would boost the economy of the district and enhance the district to move to middle-income status.
Alupo said NRM would always provide peace and security, and development will continue to flourish in the country. “Please use this peace and security well, plan for your economic activities well knowing that security is guaranteed under the leadership of H.E YKMuseveni who is the commander in chief”, she added.
The Vice President said that she had told the President that Katakwi had very large sub-counties, with service delivery as the biggest focal point, necessitating these tractors. “We don’t want these tractors parked at the district yards, these tractors should be taken to the farms immediately and put to use”, cautioning them on sustainability and maintenance. “Please coordinate and cooperate with everyone in the sub-county so that everyone starts planting, so that we get increased yields”, she said.
The Vice president asked the leaders and the locals to work towards eliminating hunger in the region.
Ms. Alupo rallied the population on leaving no one behind. “NRM doesn’t discriminate. Even if challenges arise, we must support each other”, she said, before announcing her pledge of fuel for the first 100 acres to each of the 3 big tractors, and a full tank too to each of the 20 walking tractors.
The Vice President asked the technical teams under the Chief Administrative officer to take keen interest and supervise the gardens with the Agricultural officers. “We have decided to give you hooks, and not fish, and all we require is that the farmers are trained on the farms, and not the district yards”, she said, adding that government under the parish development model is interested in the whole value chain from production, processing and marketing.
Ms. Alupo passed on a message from the President to the CAOs, which she said, demanded of them to avail statistical and quantifiable data of output at harvest time. “We should all aim to be commercial farmers.
On Government Programs, the Vice President asked the locals to mobilize themselves and embrace government initiatives and programs, especially, the recently launched, Parish Development Model. She encouraged parents and leaders to keep all children in school, regardless of the challenges. She said Government would continue providing Universal Education for all Ugandan children, “so keep them in school”, she advised, adding that “Government will also keep equipping hospitals and procuring the drugs needed for the health facilities.
She sounded a strong warning on drug theft, saying that the habit of diverting government drugs must stop. Alupo also said that the plans to extend electricity to all rural areas in the country is on course.
In both functions, the local leaders showed their appreciation to the Vice President for the tractors. The Teso widows said the tractor would help them economically. Their chairperson, Beatrice Omese in a moving show of gratitude said they viewed the Vice President as their Esther, in reference to the Biblical woman Esther, described as a woman of deep faith, courage and patriotism, who obtained favour from everyone that looked upon her.
Alupo encouraged widows and all communities to keep on benefiting from the programs which she said were deliberate programs to move everyone into the money economy. “Organise, re-organise, strategize and see how to benefit from these programs. Encourage the people, motivate them and ensure that we unite to fight poverty and be independent financially”.
The Woman MP, Soroti City Alobo Joan-FDC praised the work and commitment of Alupo. “You have encouraged us to never give up. Colours don’t mean anything to us, what we want is service delivery. “You are special to us, advise us when we go wrong”. She thanked the President for establishing different universities, citing in particular, soroti university.
“The President loves to see us empowered and he can’t give us what we don’t want”, Alobo said. She also informed the gathering that the Teso Parliamentary Group in the 11th Parliament had pushed to work as a team for the Teso agenda, regardless of colour affiliation. “Our agenda is simply development”, she said.
Present were several leaders, including the MP for Usuk county-Okiror who is also the chairman Teso parliamentary group, and the Soroti city Mayor who praised the Vice President as an assertive, effective leader for whom Teso is very grateful to have.