Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has warned Ugandans against the continued fragmentation of land on the basis of backward and primitive inheritance rites.
The Head of State observed that the vice will lead Uganda into irreversible poverty because the country’s economy and livelihood depends on agriculture.
The President raised a red flag against land fragmentation while on a working visit to Kashongi County in Kiruhuura District in the Ankole Sub-Region where he visited families of some deceased historical members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), namely the late Yakobo and Janet Rwaburemba in Kabushwere village and that of the late George Kifenene of Rwanyangwe village.
President Museveni urged the people, especially opinion leaders, to realize that although the Ankole Sub-Region in particular and Uganda as a whole have made great economic strides, with many families embracing the money economy through agriculture, the continued fragmentation of land, based on inheritance rites after the passing on of family heads, posses great danger to the future of agriculture in the country.
He observed that continued land fragmentation had rendered land to lose its economic importance because of the inability by people to sustain any meaningful commercial agricultural activities that would otherwise make families earn reasonable income for the benefit of the country and her economy.
“I can’t sit back and keep quiet when I see Ugandans destroy land which is our most valuable resource. What will happen when you fragment all the land in the country and we get offers to do large scale agricultural production and large scale supplies?” he asked.
Mr. Museveni told the people of Kiruhuura District that they needed to appreciate the vice of land fragmentation as a new danger to their prosperity and stop it the same way they stopped leading nomadic life style, which enabled them to fence their farms, use acaricides to kill ticks and other cattle diseases and live a settled life.
He noted that the level of development and prosperity, which the area is currently experiencing, is attributable to their positive response to embrace settled lives as opposed to nomadism.
He stressed the need for families to appreciate the necessity of adopting modern ways of sharing family wealth through shares in the production activities carried out on consolidated family land so that only financial proceeds are shared instead of physically parcelling out family land. He emphasised that family land should be consolidated as one large economic entity to enable the undertaking of large-scale production activities that would in turn bring in better financial dividends.
Mr. Museveni further said that useful family assets, such as land, should not be left to every family member to utilize in accordance with each person’s whims but rather family members together, need to sit and plan the best way their consolidated land asset can be used maximally to derive higher financial returns for the benefit of every member. He stressed that it is very important for the members to agree on the most economically viable projects that can be undertaken on their consolidated family land in order to protect the land as a single production unit.
The President, who made the tour of Kashongi County with a team from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, led by Animal Health Commissioner, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun Okurut, advised the people of the area to grow into the habit of utilizing their land optimally to earn more financial resources and contribute more to the national economy and development than they are currently doing.
“Your land is under-utilised which makes you earn less from it. This has left most of you in poverty and tempted some of you to go back to the old negative behaviour of nomadism in search of big and vast pieces of land and yet you can do much more on the pieces of land in your possession and get rid of poverty,” he noted.
To drive home the President’s point on the under-utilisation of land, Commissioner Rose Ademun Okurut said that as things stand currently, the people of Kiruhuura District who are in the sector of cattle keeping and most other Ugandans in the same sector, graze 314 heads of cattle on one square mile of land. She added that if small interventions such as planting grass and practicing zero grazing are done, one square mile could satisfactorily graze 6,200 heads of cattle.
Commissioner Ademun Okurut further said that even without zero grazing, if rotational grazing is used on a well-managed one square mile of land, it is possible to keep on it 1,920 heads of cattle. She, therefore, strongly advised farmers to appreciate the need to do a lot more on their pieces of land to derive higher and better financial returns and contribute to further development of the national economy. She commended the President for the tireless efforts and support to have the agricultural sector post better operations in the whole country.
The President pledged to support the two farms in Kashongi Sub-County and many others in the country so that they become role models on aspects of families’ better utilization of their consolidated units of land devoid of fragmentation activities and how production activities carried out on consolidated land yield much higher and better income when compared to small uneconomic pieces of land. Mr. Museveni commended the children of his two deceased Movement comrades in Kasongi County, for keeping their respective parents’ pieces of land intact as single units devoid of fragmentation tendencies, noting that their decisions will see their families prosper more economically.