By Aloysious Kasoma
Youths from the Lango sub-region are missing out on value chain opportunities in the manufacturing sector due to disconnections between the community and the players.
Speaking on Thursday ( March 30) at the launch of the Lango Spotlight themed: Unlocking investment opportunities in the Lango Region, Prof. Gudula Naiga Basaza, the Managing Director of Gudie Leisure Farm said that there is a need to attract catalytic investment into the region.
The Spotlight will feature a business symposium and cottage industry investment where over 400 incubated youths in the region will connect with strategic partners and potential investors from the private sector and policymakers from the government.
“The manufacturing sector in this region has enormous opportunities. For instance, the region has already proved cassava can be improved through the value chain. We have discovered opportunities in manufacturing but not so many people have been connected. There is also potential to exploit the irrigation scheme and vegetable farming,” she said at the press conference in Najjera.
Prof Gudula challenged the regional authorities to play a proactive role by convincing the private sector and other would-be investors to embark on promoting platforms through which the region’s leaders, youths, business community, and the government highlight the commercial opportunities the region offers.
According to John Okello, the Amolator Gudie District Agent (GDA), government programs on the ground have been selective and the criteria have left some households on their own.
“We have had government programs like the Naads, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and Parish Development Model. However, the criteria have left some households out with a few beneficiaries. The PDM model does not cater for all. For instance, in a house of five, only one benefits,” he explained.
Okello added that it still stands as a challenge to the people, as many of the youths lack skills, especially to serve in the manufacturing sector with value chain opportunities.
“We have the opportunity in the fishing industry, but we don’t have a processing plant, some of the fish is wasted despite the fact we have lake Kyoga and lake Kwania,” he added.
Teddy Okot, the GDA Dokolo said that the sub-region has a rich tourism potential, agriculture, and manufacturing, but not much is known, and not many Ugandans have had the opportunity to visit its neighboring districts of Alebtong, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Kole, Lira, Oyam and Otuke.
More than 300 cooperatives scattered across Lango Sub-region have collapsed after farmers decided to stop growing cotton, thus further affecting the buying, ginning and selling of the traditional cash crop.
Okot said that the main economic activity of the sub-region is agriculture, especially growing maize, cassava, sunflower, soyabean, tobacco among others
However, many farmers abandoning cotton growing due to lack of incentives to farmers, low and unreliable pay, labour intensity and inadequate land due to increasing population have been listed as some of the other key factors affecting cotton production in the area.