By Jumah Nsubuga
The Ministry of Agriculture is seeking parliament’s approval of a loan amounting to 34 million US dollars to improve on production of rice in an effort to provide food security in the country.
Giving a justification for borrowing of the loan from Islamic development bank to the national economy parliamentary committee chaired by Steven Mukitale, the director crops resources in the ministry of Agriculture Okaasai Opolot said that Uganda faces remarkable challenges of proving food, jobs and income to a population that could reach 90 million people around 2050.
He said that the vast majority of Ugandans depend on agriculture for their employment, food security and income adding that even 83% of women are employed in agriculture and it is estimated that they contribute to agricultural production.
He further said that investing in agriculture to achieve higher sector growth rates is the most effective way of reducing poverty.
He also added that agriculture accounts for 22.7% of Uganda’s GDP and 47% of its export earning with coffee, fish and Tobacco being its first exports.
The objective of the project is to ensure food security in Uganda through farm activity and rice production also to establish and expand nucleus farms.
Part of the money will be used for compensation of land, putting up irrigation infrastructure, and research purposes among others.
Hon Mukitale says that the loan request is in good spirit since the country spends lots of money on importing rice from Pakistan however, the committee will first analyze the financial details before they make a final decision to parliament.