There is alot being said about the dwindling fortunes of the general public’s livelihoods. Many think it is a failure of the Government in Uganda but I beg to differ. The phenomena is global and seems unavoidable. Sri Lanka is officially broke, In Kenya they are protesting over food, in Libya they even burnt the parliament, I could go on and on.
One thing that is apparently clear to me is that there is something going on in the world that is changing the way we have been accustomed to doing things.
First was the COVID-19 avalanche that among others got us to explore alternative ways of working and doing business. Remote centred work was appreciated by individuals, agencies and governments that had stubbornly refused to believe in that approach.Even private businesses realised that they did not need to have all employees squeezing themselves through the office corridors on a daily.
It opened us up to the numerous alternative medication recipes that abound in our local and organic environment. We got to know the power of Ginger, Lemon, Garlic, Onions, eucalyptus leaves among many other things out there to the disgust of the medical fraternity.
We were hardly out of the COVID scare when Russia attacked Ukraine in an anticipated third word war after the Americans huffed and puffed only to contract like rain beaten chicken when Russia strolled into Ukraine leaving the Americans stuck on CNN and BBC propaganda.
However, currently there is a squeeze being felt in all countries worldwide affecting livelihoods. Fuel is expensive, various foods are either scarce, expensive or not available at all. This has made us cry until some ingenious people started thinking of alternatives.
In Uganda, we have for long chosen to patronise foreign food supplies without appreciating the fact that we have local alternatives. I am glad we are going through this depression. Imagine cassava which used to be a dirt cheap product, same with posho and others are now commanding premium prices, a good thing for our farmers. I have never sold rice at the farm gate for over 2,700/= per kilo in my life since I started growing rice in 1990 but this last season, I sold it at 3,400/= a kilo. Posho is hitting the 4000/= mark on the shelf among others.
Wheat is rare to come by, however, why we had never thought of using cassava still baffles me. There are lots of local products that we are capable of utilising without relying on imports. We just need to open up our eyes wider. Places like Dubai export to us furniture they have made when we who have trees cannot seem to make the same furniture.
We the citizens have been gravitating in a direction that is resource wasteful. You have a family of five with two cars that drive out each day. One to ferry the kids to school and back while the other ferries daddy. Is that fuel worthy spending daily?
Many of those living in urban areas have villages of origin with unutilised land and they buy maize, beans, groundnuts etc daily, preferring to part with their money in an inefficient manner as opposed to growing some of these foods. These are the very ones crying out due to the lack of affordable food.
With our neighboring countries lacking food to eat, it is such a great opportunity for our country to step up the production of various foods for export. We have a natural advantage in farming to the extent that despite our rag tag semi commercial small scale farming we have significant production going on.
There are other opportunities presenting themselves in other sectors of the economy. Instead of shouting ourselves hoarse over the misery we are facing, let us re-invent ourselves and slide into the new world that is slowly shedding of the skin of the old world. |Truth be told, things will never be the same again. We either adapt or be relegated to history. Do not expect the government to do much to save the situation. The technocrats and politicians are equally clueless on what to do and how to do it. Their non ending words are merely as fluffy as cotton wool. Think and establish how best you can make something meaningful out of our situation.
Cow Boy Never die.
Business and Technology Consultant
Twitter – @wirejames
Hi James; your statement:= “In Uganda, we have for long chosen to patronise foreign food supplies without appreciating the fact that we have local alternatives” is most relevant and undoubtedly applies to several other EAC member countries;
Do you have agricultural schools for farm trainees in Uganda?
An initiative (private or public) in this regard clearly seems relevant in both Tanzania and Kenya.
What you call agric schools are initiatives by individuals that are running farming operations