Minister Ssempijja rallies churches to embrace modern farming
It comes as Government makes U-turn on GMOs, opposed by the church
The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has commenced his campaign which he said is aimed at mobilizing church leaders to encourage their members to embrace modern farming techniques.
“I have started my campaign to mobilize you the Church leaders to help me encourage people to go into commercial agriculture because that is the only way to move this country to a middle income level,” said Ssempijja.
He made the remarks over the weekend while in Kasese district at two separate events that were organized to mobilize resources for the construction of the Cathedral of Kasese Diocese (for Catholics) and St. Mathew for Church of Uganda.
He said that embracing modern farming methods will help church members to enrich Christians through increased production for both home consumption and for sell.
“Religious leaders need to help us tell the people to engage in productive agriculture. The president has done a wonderful job in looking for the markets of our produce, but the problem is quality and continuous supply to satisfy these markets,” added Ssempijja.
On behalf of government, pledged a contribution of ten million shillings for the completion of the Cathedral.
He also attended another fundraising event for the construction of St. Mathew Nyakahya Parish Church of Uganda where he contributed five million shillings for the completion of the Church.
The Minister continued to Kalushandala Sub County still in Kasese and visited Nyabubaale cooperative farmer’s group and others, where he encouraged farmers to form farmer groups for easy access of services from government.
The timing of Minister Ssempijja’s crusade to win the hearts and minds of religious leaders, is critically important. This is because, after more than two years of confusion surrounding Uganda’s position on the future of Genetic Engineering and modern biotechnology, some of the proven techniques of modern farming, the government has decided to support their release.
During the President’s Investors Roundtable that was held at State House in Entebbe, President Museveni hinted he had been misled by some people he did not name who were using Christianity to oppose the proven science of Genetic Engineering.
Genetic Engineering is considered by many experts as one of the most effective tools of improving farm productivity, which the government of Uganda is seriously promoting. This is largely because of the technology’s high abilities to counter the adverse effects of rampant pests, diseases and other environmental challenges like drought.
Despite the proven efficacy of GM technology in more than twenty countries worldwide, and as demonstrated on confined field trials in Uganda, the government has sent mixed signals that it was not sure of the technology. This also sparked fear and mistrust among the public, especially the Catholic church which opposed its adoption.
It remains to be seen, how the church will react to the government’s new approach.