By Francis Kagolo
Buganda kingdom has started donating tractors to individuals from various parts of the kingdom in a protracted move to promote agro-tourism in the region.
Speaking at the closure of this year’s Buganda Tourism Expo at the Mmengo palace on Tuesday, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga said the move would complement current efforts which focused on developing cultural tourist attractions.
Staff of Uganda Wildlife Education Center hold a python in Lubiri at the Buganda Tourism Expo 2014.
According to Mayiga, agro-tourism has potential to not only spur income generation from tourism but also to boost agriculture and food security.
The kingdom expects beneficiaries to create model farms in each of its 18 counties where upcoming commercial farmers from across Uganda and East Africa can go to learn better farming techniques.
The Kabaka waves to the people after closing the Buganda tourism Expo 2014 at Lubiri
“When we traveled to Dubai recently we were awestruck by the level of tourism there despite the absence of serious natural attractions. Dubai received over 11 million tourists last year thanks to man-made allures,” the Katikkiro noted.
Kabaka Mutebi greets the Mawokota South MP, John Kiyingi Bbosa at the closure of the Buganda tourism Expo
“If we remain focused, we can achieve this in Buganda. There are many people who visit others’ farms to learn better agricultural techniques. This will create another source of income to our farmers and promote development.”
Kabaka Mutebi greets the Lord Mayor, Elias Lukwago at the closure of the Buganda tourism Expo
The Katikkiro was speaking ahead of the handover of the first tractor donated by Cooper Motors to a one Esther Nalubowa.
Nalubowa, a resident of Kibuye in Kampala, became the lucky winner of the tractor in a draw that attracted hundreds of participants at the closure of the week-long Buganda Tourism expo.
Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II looking at an ostrich at the Buganda Tourism Expos 2014 at Lubiri Mengo. He Is accompanied by the Katikkiro, Charles Peter Mayiga
Receiving the keys of the tractor from Kabaka Ronald Mutebi II, Nalubowa said she would use the tractor to open a farm in her home village of Masuliita.
Tourism contributes greatly to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year. The country earned over $805m (about sh2,012.5b) in 2012.
Joyful people cheer as they welcome the Kabaka at the Buganda Tourism Expo 2014
Thousands of people turned up for this year’s tourism expo which attracted exhibitors from other kingdoms outside Buganda like Busoga, Ankole and Toro as well as from Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya.
Kabaka Mutebi II touches a python at the Uganda Wildlife Education Center stall
Some of the astonishing features exhibited included a 30-year-old python; a female ostrich aged eight years and weighing 120 kilograms, and a Civet Cat (Mondo) from the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
Kabaka Mutebi II receives a traditional gift when at the Buganda Tourism Expo
The different clan heads and county chiefs also exhibited key features from their respective clans and counties.
The Kabaka caused excitement when he touched the python as he toured the stalls. He later asked leaders in Buganda to develop all cultural sites so as to maximize the kingdom’s tourism potential.
Prisca Babirye, a lecturer at Mutesa I Royal University explains to the Kabaka some of their artistic works at the Expo
Toro’s princes Elizabeth Bagaya, Pakistan csonsul Bonney Katatumba and Klaus Dieter Düxmann, the German envoy to Uganda, also attended the expo.
Kabaka Mutebi accompanied by Katikkiro Mayiga is shown some of the traditional artistic works at the Buganda Tourism Expo
Buganda’s tourism minister Ritah Namyalo said future efforts will also include development of the Kabaka’s manmade lake.
A traditional drummer sounds the drums for the Kabaka during the Buganda Tourism Expo 2014 at Lubiri, Mengo
Mayiga recently named a team of experts headed by conservationist Dr. Gladys Nalubowa Kalema to sit on the Buganda Tourism Board, a move welcomed by a number of hospitality and tourism authorities.
The kingdom officials believe a combination of agriculture and tourism development will be the most effective weapons against rampant unemployment and poverty in Buganda and the rest of the country.