must clearly, consistently and unambiguously advise our authorities at national
and local levels, parliamentarians and would-be foreign developers that
people live and earn their livelihood. Land is also wealth and a source of
security for almost all Ugandans who do not have pensions when they retire. Above
all, land has sentimental value as our ancestors’ home. It is priceless!
Therefore, it is not a commodity for sale to the highest bidder – local or
foreign. And that is why land has become the single most contentious issue in
old days, association with land was interpreted as a sign of backwardness and failure
that trapped those involved in poverty and low status politically and socially
causing people to run away at the earliest opportunity.
opinion has changed. The rich have realized the value and importance of land
and are investing in it much of what they have saved or looted.
resisting temptation to part with it – however tiny – unless it is absolutely
necessary. Some who sold in preference for greener pastures – including drifting
into towns – are regretting. It is too late to reverse their decisions.
who are encouraging Uganda peasants to abandon their land are reasoning that
small scale farmers are inefficient, will never produce enough to feed the
nation and generate surplus for export and therefore have no place in the modern
economy. They forget – possibly conveniently – that during the colonial days
exports of coffee, cotton and tea. That is why the British government decided –
and wisely too – that there was no need to settle white farmers in
the other hand , J. P. Gittinger (1987) and others have reminded us that small
farmers use land more efficiently than larger ones, although policy makers –
like those in Uganda and their advisers – see large farmers as more desirable.
Pratibha Thaker (2008) has added that some experts think that small-scale
farmers can be productive with appropriate support – which government should
do is to accord agriculture and small-farmers high priority, allocate adequate
resources to improve productivity and incomes. Providing rural energy, roads,
agro-processing, storage including cold facilities, market and price information,
affordable credit and extension services would go a long way in that regard.
small farmers is even more relevant because there is no alternative in the
foreseeable future. Manufacturing and services sectors have not delivered jobs,
economic and social transformation and environmental protection.
intervention has therefore become inevitable. Government should discourage land
sales and help peasants to use their land more productively. Ugandans are
innovative and entrepreneurial. What they need is an enabling environment –
only the government can provide that. Pushing them into towns is not an option
because there is no attraction there.
the above, selling or leasing
have formidable land problems already – why make them worse?
decision by the government of Madagascar to lease a large chunk of forest land
to a South Korean company for 99 years to grow food for Koreans while many Madagascans
are dependent on food donations has not gone down well with the international