Buikwe Farmers Hail President Museveni For Boosting their Incomes

Fish farmers in Buikwe District were all smiles on Friday June 7, 2024, as State House officials distributed 75,000 fishlings to improve their livelihoods.

The fishlings, which included Tilapia and mudfish, are part of a larger initiative to enhance income-generating activities in the area. 

The farmers at Senyi landing site in Buikwe District also received fish feed and an additional 90 piglets. 

The items were delivered by the State House officials, led by the Principal Agriculture Officer, Mr. Charles Kiwuwa who visited the farmers alongside veterinary specialists.

The team provided training on proper fishing methods and alternative income-generating activities as part of the Strategic Campaign on Alternative Income Generating Activities to the Fishing Communities in Uganda (SCAIAFU) project. 

This program is a coordinated effort involving the Departments of Value Addition and Agriculture, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the Microfinance Support Center, NAADS, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Bukunja Foundation.

Mr. Kiwuwa, commended the State House team for their on-ground training efforts. He reiterated the importance of government programs like the Parish Development Model (PDM) in improving livelihoods and encouraged beneficiaries to engage actively.

Mr. Kiwuwa also highlighted the President’s long-standing promotion of the four-acre model, emphasising it as a crucial strategy for improving household incomes across Uganda.

“I want to urge you all to get out of your comfort zone, which has been fishing for a long time, and try out different income-generating activities like coffee farming, chicken rearing, and others in response to the President’s call for the four-acre model that is intended to tremendously improve your livelihood,” he noted.

The four-acre model farming is an initiative by President Yoweri Museveni with the objective of ending food insecurity, promoting livelihood, mindset change, and utilisation of land for massive production. Under the initiative, farmers are required to utilise four acres of land for livestock, fishing and crop production. 

According to the President, the farmer should have a coffee plantation on one acre, fruits (citrus, mangoes, pineapples) on the second acre, pastures for feeding the livestock on the third acre, and the fourth acre for food crop growing, in the background farmers are encouraged to rear poultry for eggs and piggery as well as fishing for those near the swamps. 

Ms. Sylivia Nakiwolo, SCAIAFU Project Coordinator and Assistant Private Secretary to the President on Value Addition, emphasised the project’s goal to provide sustainable alternative incomes for the fishing communities. 

She noted that residents of Buikwe landing sites have long struggled under restrictive measures on silver fishing that left them with few alternatives for earning a living.

“The decline in fish stocks has further compounded their difficulties, making it increasingly hard for them to sustain their livelihoods solely through fishing,” Ms. Nakiwolo said.

“This program aims to provide these communities with alternative income-generating activities, seeking to alleviate their economic hardships by offering options beyond fishing, helping them manage their responsibilities and improve their overall quality of life. Today, we are giving them 75,000 fishlings and about 90 piglets,” she explained. 

The project targeted 30 groups, with each group receiving two female pigs and one male pig, and the fishlings were distributed to 12 groups.

“Buikwe was selected as a pilot district for SCAIAFU, which began in July last year. The project aims to expand to Masaka and other areas around Lake Victoria,” Ms. Nakiwolo added.

Mr. Jimmy Kanaabi, the Buikwe LCV Chairperson, thanked President Museveni for choosing Buikwe as a pilot district for the fishing communities in Uganda. 

He highlighted the enrollment of six sub-counties in the program, including Najja, Kiyindi, Ngogwe C, and parts of Nyenga and Wakiso.

Mr. Kanaabi also mentioned the future provision of fishing materials like nets and boat engines, which are costly but essential for sustainable fishing.

To qualify for the program, he noted that groups must have a registered certificate from the Community Development Officer (CDO), with State House working closely with extension workers and CDOs to facilitate this process.

The LC1 Chairman of Lugala village, Mr. Joseph Walugembe, expressed his gratitude to President Museveni for the project. 

“Thank you, Your Excellency, for empowering us to improve our livelihoods,” he said. 

He urged beneficiaries to utilise the resources effectively and requested additional support for crops like coffee, avocado, and maize to further enhance income.

Ms. Annet Kajubi from Senyi landing site praised the wealth creation campaigns led by President Museveni, noting the significant impact of receiving pigs from the SCAIAFU Project. 

Ms. Kajubi also highlighted that she had previously benefited from the Parish Development Model (PDM) with a grant that greatly improved her piggery farming.

“I received Shs1m from PDM and I can assure you my life has not been the same since then. It has greatly improved my savings and lifestyle in general because my pigs have increased in number and I am happily earning from it,” she noted.

Mr. Sam Rogers Yakasu, a resident of Nyenga village thanked the President for considering Buikwe as a pilot district for the SCAIAFU, which is intended to find alternative income-generating activities for the fishing community.

“After the government restricted silver fishing activities, we as residents of these landing sites were oppressed and left vulnerable, but we thank the President for thinking about us and donating pigs, chicken, and other types of fish to give us survival. That shows that he has us at heart,” he said.