By Pascal Kwesiga and Nicholas Wassajja
GOVERNMENT is not militarizing the agricultural sector by engaging the UPDF in the distribution of inputs and monitoring the implementation of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), a minister has said.
The state minister for agriculture, Prof. Zeribaberi Nyira, has explained that the government is only integrating the security forces in the development process by involving the army in the NAADS implementation.
The government’s decision to engage the defence forces into the delivery of the crucial poverty alleviation program has been greeted with criticism from sections of the public and academia, with some arguing that the state was militarizing agriculture.
The Makerere University Vice Chancellor Ddumba Sentamu (centre) poses for a group photo with College of Agriculture official Bernare Bashasha (third right), Director NAADS Sam Mugasi, Gen. Joseph Musanyufu (right), State Minister of Luweero Sarah Kataike (third left), CDF General Katumba Wamala (fourth left) State Minister of Agriculture Zirubaberi Nyira (second left), Makerere Dean of Students Cyriaco Kabagambe after launching the training. Photo by Kennedy Oryema
“We are not militarizing agriculture and we are not engaging these officers to take over jobs of the technical officers. We are integrating security into the development of the country,” Nyira said.
The minister was speaking at the launch of a two-week induction course for close to 300 UPDF officers selected to implement the NAADs program at Makerere University in Kampala on Wednesday.
The officers will be trained in four modules – crop production, animal production, agri-business and post harvesting handling and farm mechanization before they are deployed in various constituencies to run the program.
They will be trained at the college of agriculture and environment sciences at Makerere University.