PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has given assurances that the Government can handle the ongoing famine in parts of northern and eastern Uganda.
Opening the 17th Source of the Nile National Agricultural and Trade Show in Jinja town on Wednesday, Museveni said relief aid is available for those in need of food.
The one-week annual event ends on Sunday.
â€œWe had kept some money for projects like the Karuma Dam construction, roads and education. So a portion of the cash can be used to contain the famine,â€ Museveni said.
The President, however, cautioned people with food against trying to benefit from the Government intervention.
â€œAbatalina kantu abo mbakakasa nti teri agenda kufa (Those without any food I assure you that nobody is going to die) as the money is there,â€ Museveni said, drawing applause.
He added: â€œIf everybody declared nange nnina enjala (Am also starving) the Government would divert all the cash reserved for developmental projects and put it in emeere yaleero (daily bread).â€
Museveni advised farmers to use drought-resistant crops that can outlive the prevalent dry spells.
â€œThe weather pattern has let down farmers. But that means we have to start using quick-maturing and drought-resistant crops like sweet potatoes, cowpeas, pumpkins and cassava that require short periods of rain to grow,â€ he said. The President urged farmers to embrace micro-irrigation by fetching water from the nearby sources like rivers.
Museveni called for food processing at local levels as opposed to movement of raw produce from rural farms to urban centres, saying the practice brought unnecessary garbage to cities.
He disclosed that the Government was to set up a fertiliser factory in Tororo district that would use local manure like cow dung.
On the Kyabazinga (Busoga king) saga, the President assured the Basoga that negotiations were ongoing to restore sanity in the kingdom following the death of Kyabazinga Henry Wako Muloki in September last year.
â€œI met the 11 hereditary chiefs and next it will be the clan heads. After that, I will meet the 11 again to forge a way forward. I hope we shall unite them and have a united Busoga,â€ he said.
Museveni promised a small monetary package for the over 50,000 LCI chairmen in the next financial year.
Frank Tumwebaze, the Uganda National Farmers Federation chairman, welcomed the restructuring of the National Agricultural Advisory Services.
Former vice-president Specioza Wandira urged farmers to join savings and credit cooperative societies.
Famine is no threat â€“ Museveni