On 23rd February 2014, local citizens appeared on Better FM to discuss the scarcity of food security and what government can do to overcome the problem. “Most homes in Uganda lack food security because of the declining culture. In African culture, people had local granaries where they used to keep cereals like maize, millet, cassava, matooke, mushrooms, among others which would help them to feed on during the time of famine”, said Hon Birungi Godfrey, the District Councilor of Rwengoma Sub County in West Division, Fort Portal Municipality.
The Hon Councilor was discussing on ToroDev supported radio discussion on Better FM called the ‘Listeners Forum’. The two hour radio program discusses issues of accountability every Sunday (8:00-10:00pm).
|NAADS beneficiaries in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District|
Other panelists who participated in the live radio discussion included Mr. Ategeka Christopher, the coordinator of Rwenzori Youths Leaders Forum and Mr. Musinguzi Adolf, the Chairperson of Burungu Forum for Development and Service Delivery.
During the discussion, Mr. Adolf discussed how the NAADS(National Agriculture Advisory Services) program had done more harm than good to the local people. “NAADS phase one was so political and benefited only the NRM(National Resistance Movement) people and even the supplied equipment was of poor quality which led to wastage of resources. The introduced cereal crops over took our local cereals and that’s why we see a spread of pests like banana bacteria, banana wealt, among others”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Christopher also participated in the live radio discussion by highlighting the factors that have failed the performance of the NAADS program. “In 1966, the NRM government came with a 10 points program and food security was one of them. 80% of the Ugandan population is in agriculture yet 69% is affected by malnutrition. Even the introduction of the NAADS program failed because of corruption, poor planning, failure to conduct research among the beneficiaries by the government, high taxation of the localy produced foods, lack of agriculture modernization, fake structure of the NAADS personals, among others”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through the program’s face book page called the ‘Listeners Forum’ and call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “Less labour, unemployment, corruption, poor methods of farming, among others have affected food security. Agriculture has been over commercialized and once this is not checked, Uganda may face severe famine”, said Kenema, “We have a challenge of a corrupt District Agricultural Officer, during the opening of bids, we always find out that the tender has already been awarded”, said Atalimukuru Daniel from Kicwamba Sub County, “The new crops introduced by NAADS have brought diseases like banana bacteria” said Ayebale Gerald.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred.