If we are to improve our country, we must start with sustainable usage of natural resources. Climate change is no longer a theme in a science fiction; it is now a reality as evidenced by the scanty rains and prolonged droughts.
We must accept that each day throws into our faces more evidence that the ways by which we use our natural resources threaten our planet. Although government may play a crucial role in bringing about change, more money and programmes alone will not get us to where we need to go. Each one of us must take the responsibility.
For example, fishermen must stop catching young fish if they care about the future of the fishing industry, agrochemical traders must stop selling fake chemical products if they care about our soils, livestock and crops, and farmers must emphasize the proper/minimal usage and disposal of chemicals.
I, for one, do strongly believe that what has stopped us from meeting the environmental challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans, but rather the leaders' tendency to be bribed and our chronic fear to demand for our rights. We rather prefer corrupt systems and play safe instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle real issues that continue to haunt us.
For example, in Uganda, the position of a NAADS service provider at the sub-county should be taken up by the vibrant agriculture graduates as per the initial strategy. These are young but knowledgeable people with the urge to work, who interact with farmers and produce results. Unfortunately, in most areas this position is occupied by the guys in NAADS phase who have mastered the art of twisting budgets and use programme funds for personal needs.
Since the local government budgets are dependent on the central government, it is clear that even a slight increase in agriculture allocation in the national budget translates into a bigger allocation at the sub-county level, which is where the real service delivery takes place. With the scarce resources, funds must be monitored to ensure that a bigger portion goes to capital expenditures other than workshops and seminars.
Although a sudden improvement is unlikely, a gradual and strategic shift towards this direction will be a reasonable move to project the agricultural sector to a higher level.
It is in my unyielding faith and hope that in the face of seemingly impossible odds, citizens and leaders who love their nation can change it.
Asst Project Coordinator
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iam an agriculture university graduate, working as a research fellow at a firm named Agency for Transformation ltd, as well as an Asst Project Coordinator at a public health NGO called UNACOH.
I enjoy reading and writing about contetious issues in our small global village.
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