Last week, President Yoweri Museveni was at Ntare School in Mbarara where he was addressing members of Urban Authorities Association of Uganda (UAAU).
The President discussed many issues ranging from urbanisation, industrialisation, agriculture, town-planning, jobs, poverty, and wealth creation among others.
Clearly, the president’s discussion with the leaders of Urban Authorities could be seen as aiming at the need for better planning of towns so that towns can create jobs through building industries and factories which in turn can attract villagers into towns because according to him, having people engaged more in agriculture than in services, is responsible for the chronic backwardness.
The president educated his town bosses how in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom,the majority of their people work in the service sector and not in agriculture. And this is true.
What is also true according to other knowledgeable people is that before the above-mentioned countries developed their service sectors, they developed an integrated Agricultural sector that led to many other industries and in the process led to industrialisation. They never started with growing a service sector because they didn’t have consumers of these services to write home about.
We know from history that before the industrial revolution, there was first the agricultural revolution. And we also we were taught how the slaves from Africa for example, were largely responsible for the agricultural revolution in America and Europe. This we were told was before the industrial revolution in those countries.
So, if agriculture was good for the developed countries, why isn’t it good for Uganda? Our development partners have told us clearly that reduction of poverty in our country and in other African countries generally, lies in agriculture because of our good weather and fertile land.
They advise that these conditions give us the capacity to feed the world. They advise that in Agriculture we have a comparative advantage but somehow, we think that investing in making agriculture attractive, beneficial and rewarding to all those Ugandans who live off agriculture is backward.
Are there Ugandans or other citizens of the world who think otherwise? If so, wouldn’t it be a good idea to tell us what you think and what you know to be useful in this unwarranted debate. Would we be wrong to suggest that there is need for a national debate on this important matter since it involves the lives of the majority of Ugandans?
The topic for this national conversation could be along the lines of ‘Poverty as a Weapon of Politics’.
Over to you. It’s about your life after all.