The Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 cited Busoga as one of the sub-regions with the highest levels of poverty
Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, has implored people in Busoga sub-region to stop cutting down trees for sugarcane plantation.
Speaking during a meeting with leaders from Busoga region, under their body the Busoga Consortium, Ssekandi said the region had lost most of its forest cover for sugar cane growing.
"A lot of trees have been cut down in Busoga to pave way for sugarcane planting, this is not good for our environment," Ssekandi warned.
Environmentalists have attributed the increasing climate change in the region to deforestation and encroachment on wetlands as a result of sugar cane growing.
Besides climate change, a recent report by Makerere University's department of forestry bio-diversity and tourism indicated that commercial sugarcane growing is accelerating food insecurity in eastern Uganda, especially in the Busoga region.
According to Ssekandi, there is need for the people in Busoga to be mindful of the effects such as climate change that come with sugar cane growing.
During the meeting in Kampala, the consortium introduced to Ssekandi an 11-pillar development agenda that is aimed at empowering the region economically to fight poverty among other social challenges.
The pillars include the promotion of education and skills development, tourism, culture and heritage, commercialization of agriculture, development of regional infrastructure with focus on roads, railway, water and air transport, mineral development and urbanisation as well as human settlement.
Other pillars for development in the agenda are strengthening the Obwa Kyabazinga Bwa Busoga, improvement in health, industrialisation, environment protection and preservation and land management and registration.
However, Ssekandi challenged the leaders which included Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, the patron of Busoga Consortium, to have an additional pillar on environmental sustainability, saying the region had not paid attention to the preservation of the forest cover.
Commending the consortium for coming up with a development agenda which he said should be emulated by other regions for economic empowerment, Ssekandi said the agenda would greatly uplift the lives of the people in Busoga region.
"I'm pleased for the remarkable progress you have made pushing for this agenda in the last two years. It will help in the transformation of social and economic vacuums of the region," he said.
He noted that Busoga region is gifted in many ways such as natural resources and soil fertility which he said should be used to develop the region.
Delivering her remarks, Kadaga implored the government to support the Busoga development agenda, through supporting the pillars that have been identified as avenues for economic empowerment of the region.
"Mbarara has developed because of the university there. So we want you to help us add a voice so that our universities especially Namasagali and Busoga University can be supported," Kadaga.
She also asked the government to support tourism in the region for increased revenue generation. Citing the Source of the Nile, Kadaga said; "This is a tourism heritage site which needs to be promoted so that people can come to Uganda and see it."
Parliament recently approved Sh7.5b for Busoga Special Program fund, aimed at supporting a range of sectors to improve economic standards in Busoga sub-region.
The Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 report released in September 2017, by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics cited Busoga as one of the sub-regions with the highest levels of poverty. Others are Karamoja and Bukedi.