The Vice President of Uganda, Maj (Rtd) Jessica Alupo has started tours around the country, aimed at ascertaining how Uganda can move into the Middle Income Status.
She kicked off with a Courtesy Call in Gulu, to Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho (a.k.a Salim Saleh), the Overall Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation. She was welcome at the Gulu Military Barracks with a Military Parade, before meeting Gen. Saleh for a meeting with his team.
She later moved with Gen. Saleh to the Late. Maj. Gen. Julius Oketta’s commercial farm; run by his wife Stella Oketta. It is known as the Terra Fam; found in Layima sub-county in Amuru district. She runs the farm in a joint Partnership of Indian investors led by Jayesh Patel.
The Vice President, while at the farm, noted, “There is a need to ensure that we drive our country into the Middle Income Status. We need to embrace grassroots farmers, at all stages of social-economic transformation.”
She also pledged to work with all sectors, and leaders across the country, to fulfill the assignment given to the Cabinet by President Yoweri Museveni, to move the country into the Middle Income Status.
The Vice President notes that such big projects whether started by locals or partnerships with foreign investors must bring on board local communities to quickly transform the country.
“We must always make sure that we support the farmer, on the farm, processing, and in the market,” she explained.
The recent Uganda National Household Survey Report 2019/2020, estimates Total Population at 41 Million, and an increase in the number of Poor People from 8 million to 8.3 million, with the Number of Households in the Subsistence Economy at 39%, an increase from 3.3 million to 3.5 million.
Meanwhile, the local leaders, in Amuru raised concerns about the yet-to-fulfill pledges; an issue she said she will follow up with the President. Among the pledges includes the tarmacked road to Layima from Amuru town and provision of grid power to the farm and sub-county.
The Minister of State in the office of Vice President Diana Mutasingwa, commercial farming in northern Uganda, “Is a gold mine for future development of the area.” She had accompanied the Vice President on the tour.
Gen. Saleh noted that the initiative of OWC, of connecting the farmers with the Government programmes, will communities benefit and cause sustainable development. He said produce supply creates own demand since people start demanding more food and jobs, in all communities.
Terra Farms Chief Executive officer Jayesh Patel flanked by the landlord Stella Oketta said its operations, within one year; have created permanent jobs.
He also noted that they do have 8,000 acres of land; of which 3,000 acres are under cultivation of crops like rice, maize, and groundnuts. He said Terra farms also have similar farms in Kenya with a working experience of 35 years; and pledged to build a hospital and a school on the farm.
The function was also addressed by Amuru LC5 Chairman Michael Lakony who said the district is the wealthiest in terms of arable cultivation land, of about 4851 square miles.