Members of the Greater North Parliamentary Forum have commended the First Lady and Karamoja Affairs Minister Janet Museveni for her efforts to transform the Karamoja region from dependence on food aid to enhanced food security.
The Forum last week observed that the First Lady since her appointment in 2009 as the Minister in charge of Karamoja has been instrumental in ensuring that the Karimojong grow their own food alongside their tradition of cattle keeping.
The Greater North Parliamentary Forum which brings together MPs from the regions that were affected and are recovering from conflict including West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Karamoja, Teso, Elgon, Bunyoro and Bukedi, were attending an orientation workshop on Pastoralism and Policies Processes in Africa.
On Thursday the Forum convened a workshop in Kampala aimed at addressing the causes of under development in pastoral communities in Uganda through advocacy for policies that shall be consistent and responsive with their needs and contribute to peace and recovery in the Greater North.
Officiating at the workshop, Mrs. Museveni called for an end to nomadism which she described as an evil that must be fought because it is a danger to animals, land and the people themselves.
According to a release from her office, she emphasized the need for people in Karamoja to practice modernized farming embracing agro-pastoralism to ensure that they can grow enough food and keep good animal breeds.
“The breed of animals in Karamoja is not helping the families much because they do not give milk. People should stop having animals because of their numbers yet they are not beneficial to the family”, she noted.
She noted that under NRM Government other regions have changed from the primitive and poor quality of life to now transformed lives with good incomes at household level and good management of land, water and animals.
“The Karimojong are part and parcel of the people of Uganda and should develop as such”, she said.
Mrs. Museveni reported that Government has already embarked on various programmes to promote agro-pastoralism in Karamoja including establishing dams for every parish to ensure sufficient water for both people and animals in addition to opening up fields for the people to cultivate and providing seeds and farm implements.
She said plans are underway to start irrigation to ensure food production throughout the year.
She said that the Karamoja Integrated Development Plan Results Matrix developed by the Karamoja Affairs Ministry will be used to coordinate and monitor all the development programmes in the Karamoja region to ensure value for money.
Janet Museveni urged Members of Parliament to join government in fighting corruption which has derailed service delivery in the region.
The Members of Parliament from the greater north promised to advocate for increased budgetary allocation to improve on the livestock production and agricultural technology for better farming methods in region.
They cited Education as a key factor that will change the mindset of the pastoralist community to embrace modern farming skills.
They also agreed to advocate for protection of land allocation for grazing and food production among others.
The Permanent Secretary Office of the Prime Minister Pius Bigirimana advised Members of Parliament to embrace Barazas as forum for putting to task local area officials to account for funds allocated to them for implementation of government programmes in their respective Districts.
During the workshop the MPs were enlightened on the African Union Policy Framework on Pastoralism in Africa, the role of Policies on livelihoods for development in pastoral areas and about the findings of a research on the budgetary analysis and utilization for livestock sector in Karamoja.
Source The New Vision