BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU
ARUA: THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2023
President Yoweri Museveni has outlined parish development model (PDM) options for urban residents and families with less than four acres of land during his latest wealth creation tour in West Nile.
“There are other people like here in Arua town who do not have land for farming. Two ways for them,” asserts President Museveni.
“We can have PDM in the city but your job is to buy what is produced in the villages, process it and sell. I don’t want the confused commercial officers to start telling people to grow coffee on mattresses,” he added to a deafening up louse from a mammoth crowd at the West Nile golf course on Wednesday.
The president said the second option for urban dwellers is the presidential initiative on wealth and job creation code named “Emyooga” which is operated at the constituency levels and covers several groups including women entrepreneurs, carpenters, saloon operators, taxi operators, restaurant operators, bodaboda (motorcycle taxi operators), welders and market vendors.
The other groups targeted by Emyooga are the people with disabilities, produce dealers, mechanics, tailors, journalists, artists, elected leaders and youth leaders.
Later in a breakfast engagement with journalists on Thursday, Museveni addressed the issue of families whose land size ranges from a quarter acre to less than four acres, citing example of Maracha district where he noted a lot of land fragmentation due to family inheritance practices has taken place.
“I appeal to you now tell the Maracha’s and those people like them that my proposal is to do poultry for eggs , piggery and zero grazing by using feeds purchased from others or from government institutions,” he underscored.
The president indicated that the government can grow feeds on its farms or purchase land for the purpose of feed production to sell to farmers whose land size does not permit them to produce food for both human consumption and feeding domestic animals.
He said he is also in talks with religious leaders like the bishop of Arua diocese, Rt Rev Sabino Ocan Odoki, to use church land for large scale production of pasture and maize for processing animal feeds.
For families whose land size is only one acre, Museveni said they can select zero grazing of dairy cows and poultry.
He was responding to anticipated challenges that could hamper the roll-out of the Parish development model, the nascent government development vehicle to eradicate household poverty and lift the 49% of the Ugandan population that is still stuck in traditional subsistence farming into what the president calls the money economy.
Through the initiative which Museveni is popularizing in the country wide tours, the government plans to inject sh100m annually into parish savings and credit cooperative organizations with the possibility of increasing the money in case the program performs well.
It is meant to correct some of the anomalies with the previous wealth creation programs including the National agricultural advisory services (NAADS) and the Operation Wealth Creation run by the Uganda peoples defence forces.
“Let wealth creators organize themselves, elect their leaders and buy inputs by themselves. This is a very important program where money is given free from the government to your group banks. Individuals borrow at very low interest rates, use the money and payback,” explained Museveni.
He cautioned officials charged to oversee the PDM implementation: “I don’t want you to stampede them to pay in one year because they are mainly borrowing for agriculture. Crops are not always ready for harvesting in one year.”
Museveni stressed that the PDM concept is anchored on a previous analysis based on the four acre model where a household could use one acre for fruit growing, one acre for food production, another for grazing animals, and the other acre for settlement with backyard farming of either poultry, piggery or zero grazing of dairy cattle; and for those near rivers and swamps, fish farming.
“If they borrow for coffee, the earliest they can start harvesting is 18 months. So, you can tell them to start paying after 24 months and not pay all the money at once. If you finish paying after four years, I have no problem,” he emphasized.
Museveni said the PDM fund is a strategic intervention targeted to help the people engage in enterprises that have national, regional and even international economic relevance.
“It is more money than others and sustainable. We are going to continue for a long time, hence the slogan securing your future economically.”