Over 300 Senior Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) officers have turned up for a two-week Agriculture Induction Training programme at Makerere University. According to the Minister of State for Luwero Triangle, Honorable Sarah Kataike, the training is aimed at equipping the officers with knowledge and skills, so as to help monitor the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) program across the country.
The Minister said that the idea to involve the Officers in this agricultural programme was endorsed by the President of Uganda, H.E, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni after an initial selection of UPDF officers proved very effective in Luwero District last year.
“In that one year the army displayed a high level of efficiency, commitment and education which enabled distribution of inputs in a timely manner. The officers were indiscriminative and ensured effective supervision up to the last person,” said Hon. Kataike. “Secondly, we need to really mobilize our people into commercial agriculture. The challenge has been the lack of inputs, we have been trying to give inputs through the NAADS but it did not work,” the Minister added.
Upon welcoming the guests at the inauguration ceremony, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu appreciated the great honor bestowed upon the University by the Government of Uganda, by selecting the institution to host and offer the Agricultural Induction Training.
“Makerere is happy to collaborate with the UPDF, as we together work toward transformation of our nation. We assure you General Katumba Wamala that we shall give you nothing but the best.” The Vice Chancellor assured.
Principal CAES-Prof. Bernard Bashaasha gives an overview of the Agric Induction Training, 6th Aug 2014, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda
The Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, said that Makerere Universitythrough CAES, was tasked with the responsibility of training the Officers in agriculture before they can be entrusted with the program that seeks to alleviate poverty through the promotion of commercial agriculture.
According to Prof. Bashaasha the training which started Wednesday 6th August, will entail both theory and practical sessions and that by 20th August the officers will be equipped to help
“In the two weeks we are going to host the Officers, we have set up a customized training program, which will give them the necessary skills, in a bid to eradicate poverty with agriculture as the main focus,” said the Principal.
While addressing the Senior Officers, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Edward Katumba Wamala asked the Officers to treat the programme like a mission. The CDF appealed to the officers to practice teamwork for the two weeks they are going to spend while training.
“Take this as a military mission where you have to define the enemy which is poverty and fight it. For the two weeks you are going to spend here; learn to define your mission, come up with your execution plan, to ensure that the mission is achieved, work out your time lines such that whatever is done is being done in time and work out your coordinating instructions to ensure that there are no gaps left.” General Katumba Wamala clarified.
“If the Al-shabab who have tried to frustrate our efforts have not succeeded, how can we fail to deliver what is required to the farmer at the right time, in the right place, in the right quantities and then supervise what is being done?” he further quipped.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Honourable Zerubabel Mijumbi Nyiira, observed that the training of UPDF Officers is not an invasion into the work of civilians as has been perceived by some members of the public but rather more about maximizing the utilization of human resources in socioeconomic development.
“The training is meant to give them the basics of agriculture so that when they go to the field, they will be able to integrate and lend their services to the distribution of seeds, monitoring of ongoing programs as well as give support to the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries and the Local Governments,” clarified Hon. Nyiira.
By Nabatte Prossy, Intern, Public Relations Office