By Mugangha Kolyangha
BUKEDI- National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has pledged to awaken what he called a dying agricultural system in the Bukedi Sub-region.
"I know that you are being chased from the swamps which are your agricultural areas for rice growing and given away to Chinese. The ginneries that once boomed in this area have all collapsed and not provided the jobs for you and it is a deliberate move to keep us in poverty," he told his supporters at Bumiza Primary School in Kibuku District.
"When you vote me into power. We shall make sure that agriculture in this place is put at world class level," he added.
Bobi Wine repeated the same message while campaigning at Nansanga Primary School in Budaka District.
More than half the population of the districts in Bukedi, especially in Kibuku, Budaka and Paliisa mainly depend on rice growing as a major source of economic activity.
Last year, however, the government passed a resolution to evict all the farmers from the wetlands, citing reclamation and destruction of the natural resource.
Most of the people Daily Monitor talked to yesterday at the different campaigns indicated that they had not been given alternatives by the government and yet their whole lives depended on the crop which gives them money and food.
"We have been given only this season and we don't know what to do next. Our landing is not good for other crops so the rice is all that we had. Government needs to give clear alternatives because we are stuck," Mr Samuel Oluka, a resident of Umiza Village, in Kibuku District, said.
The locals also indicated that the high level of unemployment and the fluctuating prices of rice from Shs2,500 a kilogramme to Shs1,500 for the farmers in the area has impoverished many of the people.
Bobi Wine said: "We shall revive the factories and ginneries so that the coffee growers have their product processed for value addition before being sold."
NUP deputy president in charge of Eastern Region, Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, said they are going to revive and fund the farmers groups such as the Rice Farmers Associations.