By Dan Okello
Agriculture is the driving engine of the Uganda’s economy. Liberalisation and globalisation have allowed and made free movement of goods and services possible all over the globe.
The Uganda Government also adopted the same liberalisation policy. However, a decline in prices of major export commodities as a result of globalisation and liberalisation directly affects local prices.
The Government is not doing enough for the peasant farmers in Uganda; their counterpart in Europe and America are heavily subsidised. The peasant farmers in Uganda have been abandoned To Whom It May Concern.
The Uganda peasant farmers sell their product at very low prices especially beans, maize, ground nuts, simsim because they fail to get good markets as a result of liberalisation and globalisation.
The peasant farmers in Uganda cannot compete globally. The immediate effect of liberalisation and globalisation is the growing gap between the rich 1% and the poor 99% in Uganda and it continues to widen.
It is high time the Government considered introducing policies which are pro-farmers. The Government should subsidise farmers' produce.
Indeed, this is what developed countries are doing in their countries. Agricultural production in Europe and America are heavily subsidised.
Developed countries give free tractors, seeds, fertilisers and other farm inputs to their farmers. Uganda peasant farmers have been abandoned and given a raw deal because of World Bank conditionality.
It has become increasingly clear that liberalisation is not sufficient condition for success. The policy of liberalisation has failed to improve the condition of agricultural producers until and unless the co-operative movement is revitalised through which the peasant farmers will be able to participate in the global trade and the state starts to take more active roles in its promotion and development.
The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) failed because it failed to use the farmer's co-operatives. I am disappointed that the majority of the co-operative unions in Uganda have collapsed.
I would like Ugandans to believe that the debate on the role of the co-operative movement in the development process must be brought back to centre stage.
Africa in general and Uganda in particular cannot afford to abandon the co-operative movement as a means of mobilising rural production.
The writer is the UPC chairman for Lira District