FAMINE IN UGANDA IS CAUSED BY GREED

Last year, shortly after Uganda’s National Budget for our current financial year 2014/2015 was published, I wrote a blog post in which I surmised that our Country’s budget was a recipe for food insecurity https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/ugandas-20142015-budget-is-a-recipie-for-food-and-nutrition-insecurity/. Sadly, with about three months remaining till the end of our current financial year, which ends in June, I am vindicated.

Recently, I was at our ancestral home at my Alinga Farms in Pallisa in Eastern Uganda and I noted how the situation of my people has worsened. They are in a desperate state. Unfortunately, the rains expected in early March are yet to come and so the sun is scorching hot; making the situation even worse. Many families are surviving on only one meal a day – mostly consisting of eating lilies from swamps. The lilies have been nicknamed odaku amuro (lift a thigh), erinyot, etc.
How, some may be asking, can one possibly suggest that a budget can cause famine? Well, there are precedents in other parts of the world were famines have been caused because of greed which fuels exploitation of a country’s natural resources for the financial gain of a few or others http://yourstory.com/2014/08/bengal-famine-genocide/. Exploitation can take the form of a heavy tax burden or a tax regime which diverts resources from food production to other things such as buying tear gas for maintenance of law and order, for example.

Many of our people were forced to sell food items in order to meet school fees – including scholastic materials, even for their children who are attending schools supported by the government under Universal Primary Education. They were forced to sell food items in order to meet medical bills, etc.; meaning that their food stocks were quickly diminished. No wonder, after all, fees went up for everything – in order to accommodate excise duty, charges on mobile money transfers, and other indirect taxes that were imposed as part of the NRM administration’s strategy to generate revenue for implementing government programmes.

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6 comments

  1. Could we put full blame on internal greed (from within the nation state) or expand it to include external one (like climate change, land rush, neoliberal development paradigm)? To what extent can each be attributable?

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    1. Thank you Kibowa for taking the time to read my blog post and to comment. I am an active citizen of Uganda and it is my duty to hold the leaders of my country to account. The manner in which the effects from climate change, land grabbing and neoliberalism are handled is the full responsibility of each individual state for the benefit of its citizens. Our policies simply need to be revised in favour of Ugandans, like other nations do for their citizens. Take for instance our trade policies in relation to international trade … please read more of my views on this issue contained in another of my blog posts. Here is the link https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/neo-libaral-globalisation-works-best-for-nations-whenn-they-close-some-doors/

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  2. Osukuru Rubongi · · Reply

    the Mo Abraham foundation made a worrying discovery. only 2% of africa university students are training in agriculture yet more than 70% of the population is engaged in subsistance agriculture. this is a mismatch that needs urgent redress.

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    1. I would be really interested in addition to know, what percentage of those who were training in agriculture are actually practicing their field of study in their respective country and or that are employed by their respective government.

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  3. Osukuru Rubongi · · Reply

    africa’s biggest problems stem from wasteful utilization of resources including the human resource. even after committing ourselves to the moputo declaration to push our budget allocation to the agric sector by end of the last decade we are not yet at 5%. only ethiopia did. probably they have learnt from their bitter history.

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    1. Thank you Osukuru. I agree. In the context of Uganda poor utilisation of our human resources is the root cause of the other ills that are afflicting us. Using soldiers to do seed and input distribution, instead of the trained agricultural extensionists – what is that? And then starving the district local governments of funds while setting up shadow departments in Presidents office which remove power and resources from the ministries? Then all our wealth creation programmes which in essence and wealth distribution politicking. For more on my views on this subject please read my other post: https://nowaraga.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/wealth-creation-occurs-when-we-listen/

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