One prominent politician from western Uganda once said the poor cannot go to heaven because they are always complaining and angry at God for lack of basic needs of life. In a bid to avoid such state of affairs, Bubaare Catholic Parish in Ibanda municipality, has started a campaign encouraging parishioners to grow high value crops to boost their household income.
Through the recently-established Bubaare Parish Farmers Development Association, the parish is promoting five enterprises among the faithfuls; the growing of hass avocado, macadamia, candle nut (kabakanjaagara), bananas and coffee.
Association vice-chairman Ben Baryakabo said the promotion of these cash crops coupled with commercial and modern farming practices across the parish seek to empower Christians economically.
“It is important to support believers to have a reliable source of income. That’s why we are encouraging everyone to have at least two farming enterprises to ensure a sustainable source of income and, hence get out of poverty,” Baryakabo said while addressing parishioners at Nyakateete Catholic Centre on November 27. He added that self-reliance means that one has a sustainable source of income.
Start with an enterprise you can manage and are good at and then add others later, he advised.
“Don’t wait and regret later as others are reaping the benefits…This kind of attitude has been the undoing of many people,” he said.
He castigated people who like quick wins, saying that such mentality propels poverty “as there is no short-cut to wealth-creation”.
Avocado, candle nut or macadamia trees take years to mature, but the rewards are worth the wait. These are generational cash crops that will also be enjoyed by your grandchildren, he added. He said that presently a kilogramme of hass avocado costs sh2,000, while that of macadamia is at sh8,000, adding that these crops don’t need a lot of care and last for decades.
This drive supports government programmes the Parish Development Model, Emyooga and plan for modernisation of agriculture that seek to improve production, strengthen food security and get the masses out of poverty.
Baryakabo urged the farmers to work in groups, visit and learn from each other to improve crop productivity through adoption of farming methods. He said cooperatives enable farmers to bargain for better prices, government support and also access inputs.
Rev Fr James Naseba, from Bubare Catholic Parish, said farming was a good source of wealth, like any other business or career and vocation. Therefore, look at agriculture as a business and stop looking at white collar jobs as the only way to improve one’s living standards, he said.
Nyakateete Catholic Centre chairperson of laity Consolata Bambeiha said it was the duty of parishioners to work hard and improve their standards of living.
“Utilise every space in your homes for agriculture, growing vegetables, cassava, egg plants, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes for food security and better incomes,” she said.
Meanwhile, the farmers were encouraged to embrace use of manure to improve crop yields. “For instance, application of organic manure increases coffee out-turn and, hence, earnings for the farmers,” said Alex Twesigye, another official from the parish farmers group.
Relatedly, a nine-member committee to spearhead the programme among parishioners was also elected. It will be headed by Oswald Tumuhaise as the chairperson, with Florence Kabahinda as the secretary and Denis Murinde, the treasurer, among others.