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So many jobs but very few employable graduates – Museveni

President Museveni in Soroti
President Museveni in Soroti

Presidential candidate, Yoweri Museveni says there are many job vacancies in the public service, but there are no qualified people to fill them.

Addressing supporters at Sapir Primary School, Kyere sub-county in Serere district on Sunday, Museveni said each year over 40,000 students graduate from different universities in the country but in courses which are not marketable and do not give them jobs.

According to him, the country is now faced with two problems of unemployed youths and unoccupied positions because the graduates chose wrongs subjects.

“These children who are coming out of university, what have they studied? You find they have studied subjects like history, literature,  social work, foreign administration or something like that.

This is good but the problem is that those subjects can not easily get you jobs. The jobs are there even in the public service; the nurses are needed, the midwives are needed, the engineers are needed, the doctors are needed but to get that job you must be trained as a doctor. The job is there but somebody has studied something else”, Museveni said.

As a solution, the president says he needs to use the next five years to reskill such graduates so that they become marketable and employable in the job market.

The president also says government will boost the youth fund to help them access capital to start their own businesses.

Museveni also defended his plan to distribute sanitary pads to school girls, saying he did on the advice of education experts.

“This one [sanitary pads] you may wonder because even me I was not thinking about but the experts in education brought it up. They said you know why the girls are running out of school? They said one of the reasons is that when they start being old and going into monthly periods, they don’t have proper things to use. They feel embarrassed and run out of school and we want the girls to stay in school because when you have got an uneducated girl the whole society is uneducated”

Museveni supporters admiring his family chart
Museveni supporters admiring his family chart

Museveni also pledged to work with the Ministry of Water to de-silt and dig more dams in Teso to help harvest and get rid of the El-nino water affecting the region.

Investing in educating Ugandan children will yield positive results

Education is the cornerstone of every society’s long-term prosperity and stability and one of the basic human rights that every person needs to tap his or her full potential.

Those truths are certainly not lost on the Ugandan government, which has energetically placed priority on strengthening its education sector and ensuring that all children get the quality schooling they deserve.
That’s why Uganda joined the Global Partnership for Education in 2011 to get additional international support and build a stronger, better quality and more durable education system that will serve its children for a long time to come. Indeed, I am in Kampala this week to meet with public officials and a variety of development partners to review how our partnership can help reach those goals.
The Global Partnership has provided $100 million to the Ugandan government for implementing some important activities towards achieving the country’s primary education goals. In addition, the partnership worked with all stakeholders in education to draw a strategic plan for the education sector in Uganda.
The funding supports, among other initiatives, the Uganda School and Teacher Effectiveness Project, which focuses on training substantially more of the country’s teachers. The project, implemented by the government with supervision by the World Bank, aims to equip teachers not only with the fundamental teaching skills they need to succeed in the classroom, but also with the know-how to make schools more hospitable for all students – especially girls.
Why girls? As of 2013, approximately seven per cent of primary school-going age Ugandan girls were not in school and only 54 per cent who do go to primary school complete it. This means they will almost certainly go without the basic skills they need to escape a lifetime of poverty and other social and health threats.
Getting girls in school requires efforts to lower cultural and economic barriers that keep many families from sending their daughters to school. It also relies on the presence of teachers, particularly women, who understand girls’ needs, such as protection from harassment or sexual violence, on safe, reliable transport to and from school (especially in remote areas) and on the availability of clean and separate toilets. These strategies have worked well in many countries and Ugandan leaders need to identify what works best in Uganda.
The Global Partnership’s funding also makes it possible to teach head teachers and other school administrators to manage schools more effectively and efficiently. One of the school management training programmes will train more than 300 head teachers from eastern Uganda through weekend classes. These and other trainings will strengthen Uganda’s education sector by expanding the pool of administrators who have the indispensable skills to lead and motivate other educators, manage cost-effective budgets and address the changing learning needs of their communities.
A portion of the funds from the Global Partnership grant will also go to building more and better-equipped school buildings, as well as housing for teachers working in remote regions of the country. Overall, support from the Global Partnership will help expand an education sector that has struggled to keep up with Uganda’s remarkably high population growth.
Uganda bears an even greater burden to ensure refugee children from neighbouring countries also get an education and has played a commendable role as a host. Additional support from UNHCR and UNICEF, among many other partners, is helping these children to learn even in difficult circumstances. Ensuring that children continue to go to school during crisis and conflict is key to ensuring refugee children (and their parents) remain hopeful and prepared for a better future.
Today’s support from international donors should enable Uganda’s education sector to be more self-sustaining over the long-term. This also means Uganda needs to invest more in basic education from its own revenues. Ideally, the Global Partnership expects countries to gradually increase education spending to 20 per cent of the national Budget. Currently, Uganda spends about 13 per cent. And it will be important that domestic education financing targets poor populations in particular as the learning gaps between rich and poor Ugandan children have been widening in recent years.
It’s much too soon to measure the impact of the Global Partnership’s initiatives in Uganda, as the programme has only started this year. But we are hopeful that the mix of interventions Uganda’s Education ministry is deploying will yield real, lasting and positive results.
If Uganda can sustain its tenacious commitment to meet the important goal of educating all its children, the transformation of its education sector – and of all Ugandan society – will be striking and profound.

Alice Albright is chief executive officer of the Global Partnership for Education, which supports 61 developing countries to ensure every child receives a quality basic education, prioritising the poorest and most vulnerable and those living in fragile and conflict-affected countries.

In agriculture, we can tame the youth unemployment in Africa

Last week, the MasterCard Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation, brought together nearly 300 young people from across sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa to deliberate and craft strategies that can arrest the unemployment problem among the youth and perhaps explore how African countries can harness the opportunities that exist within the agricultural sector.

The summit, whose focus was on best practices and effective approaches for preparing young people for employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in agriculture, came a few months after the release of the Global Employment trends report 2015 by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ILO report not only shows an increase in the number of unemployed youth in sub-Saharan Africa, but also indicates that the nature of available work is changing with informal, part-time and precarious work increasingly becoming the norm. From the report, three aspects stand-out;
l Young African workers don’t have the educational qualifications for the jobs they occupy. In sub-Saharan Africa, research shows that two in three young workers do not have the standard educational requirements for their current position. This results in loss of labour productivity and wages for young workers and points to broader mismatches in technical and transferable skills with the available work.

l Informal and precarious work and mixed livelihoods (a variety of activities at one time to pursue an income) are the norm. In low-income countries, three in four young people are engaged in work that is characterised as irregular. This includes youth engaged in own-account work, family work, and/or casual paid or temporary labour. The informal and precarious nature of work forces young people to adopt mixed livelihood strategies to ensure adequate income. In addition to lower wages and sporadic hours, informal work doesn’t provide important elements of social protection such as written contracts, paid leave, health insurance and other benefits.

l Transition from school to decent work takes long and adversely impacts youth and the labour market. The school-to-work transition surveys data show that for young people in low-income countries, the transition from school to work is short. However, across all countries, the transition from school or training to a ‘good’ job – if it happens – can take an average of 37 months, or more than three years. This is not only a loss of productive labour, but it also has negative impacts on the young people who are unable to benefit from productive employment.
The ILO findings paint a gloomy picture for the youth across Africa with many countries, including Uganda, struggling with very young populations and an army of youth completing or dropping out of educational institutions at different levels. It is feared that in Africa, 11 million young people will enter the labour market annually over the next 10 years, further worsening an already bad situation.

The ILO findings, however, provide us with an opportunity to invest in sectors that have the strongest potential to generate jobs – agriculture being one such sector. Africa is home to the largest amount of arable land that, if well utilised, has the potential to increase job creation 11 times more than any other sector.
We thus need to find creative ways of pulling the young people into the sector. Leveraging technology, building clear linkages to inputs, markets; strengthening extension, designing financing schemes that would target and attract promising youth in agriculture and using successful young people as role models for their peers would greatly help.

Mr Were manages a large scale financial inclusion programme for sub-Saharan Africa.

Government should prioritise vocational/technical education

Rhoda-KalemaI prepared the gist of this message in about March 2012, but failed to send it to the press.

But on the morning of August 28, 2015, I heard on radio that the permanent secretary at the ministry of education, Dr Rose Nassali-Lukwago, had, once again, stressed to parents to encourage their children to take up vocational courses.

In April 2009, after reading in New Vision, that parliament had considered reviewing our education system, I was excited and I wrote to New Vision, and my views were published.

I attempted to take a copy to minister  Namirembe Bitamazire’s office, but I failed. But I believed that since parliament had involved itself, all would be well.

In The Observer of February 6, 2012, there was a feature story by Polly Kamukama, titled: “Vocational brushed aside at S.I selection.” Once again, I said to myself: “Oh, so, government has never seriously reviewed the education system?”

Let me repeat the introduction of my former comment and a little else: everyone in the country who experienced a balanced education, about 25-40 years ago, are in pain over what is happening in the education sphere today. I join Polly Kamukama and lawyer Daudi Mpanga in Daily Monitor and Dismus Nkunda in Observer to ask: What is Uganda’s future? Where to, Uganda?”

President John F Kennedy of the US is known to have said in 1962 that ‘a mis-educated child is a child lost.’ If we may not deny this statement, then we should mourn our country’s future.

The mis-educated and uneducated will ruin the socioeconomic and political environment because of lack of a sense of direction, as it is already evidenced. It is a hard fact.

In April 2009, I touched on the education syllabus: I noted that we need better science teaching with equipped laboratories, good national teacher colleges, primary teacher colleges and teachers’ houses. I also condemned abrupt teacher transfers, lack of school lunch meals, the proposed double shift system, and ignoring of vocational/technical courses.

I know the list of what needs to be reviewed and improved on is endless. Unfortunately, although all of these issues have for a long time occupied the hearts of many concerned Ugandans, nothing tangible has been implemented.

I remember reading an article in Daily Monitor of December 22, 2011 where the ministry of education sought Shs 2 trillion for a skills project. This sounded wonderful news. I think we all agree that the crucial objective is to offer an education to make students useful to themselves, to their country. And finally for them not to be ‘lost-children’ and a liability to the nation, who are unemployable, and eventually creating ‘a lost state.’

In his Observer story, Kamukama wrote: “The head teachers of Business, Technical, and Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) who attended the S.1 selection conference at the Wonder World amusement park venue early February 2012, lamented why they even ever went to the selection conference.”

These BVTET head teachers received only students who were rejected from the secondary school academic stream selection. This meant clearly that the education ministry’s main concern was only in academic secondary school education ‘to produce well-educated and useful Ugandans.’

This was well stated by the then education minister Bitamazire at the installation of  then vice-president Gilbert Bukenya as chancellor of St Lawrence University on October 11, 2008.

As reported in Daily Monitor of October 14, 2008, she said: “The introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE) has attracted an increased number of learners in schools. Within a few years, many more universities would be needed to supplement the existing ones”.

Minister Bitamazire could not consider and advise cabinet that the best educational programme for many of the graduates of UPE and USE was technical institutions at different levels, and perhaps starting with one technical university in each region.

It was very unfortunate that Bitamazire, my good friend and former colleague and a trained teacher, clearly ran down the vocational programme in the ministry during her time, in addition to easily allowing the Shimon school land to go for a hotel meant for short-time guests, in November 2006.

I wish to inform the government, through the ministry of education, that the pre-independence education syllabus truly included vocational/technical and many practical subjects.

King’s College Budo, St Mary’s College Kisubi, Gayaza High School, Mt St Mary’s College Namagunga, and all those traditional schools taught subjects of gardening, farming, carpentry, domestic sciences, home economics, alongside academics. So, students left school with well-rounded knowledge and ability to live useful lives. This continued into the first 20-30 years after independence.

I personally won a needlework prize in 1941 while in primary six at Budo. Government should have, a long time ago, concentrated on the multi­subject vocational/technical education for both genders. This was to be extra-suitable, particularly to combat the obvious problems of the children and young people in northern Uganda, ravaged by 20 years of war.

These are people who missed out on the foundation of nursery/kindergarten and early classroom learning. It is the duty of the government, through ‘career guidance’ officers, to educate the teachers and parents and to sensitize students so they appreciate that vocational/technical education is not “second-best” education.

I believe these BTVET graduates would be the aspiring undergraduate applicants for the polytechnic universities. I hope Dr Nassali knows how to go about her advice to parents, so that it does not stop at what many others have – mere mentioning.

The author is former Constituent Assembly delegate.

Does vocational training help young people find a (good) job?

Youth unemployment has increased in many industrialized
countries following the recent global recession. However,
this reflects not only the cyclical shock, but also the
crucial role of institutions in structuring the transition
from school to work. Vocational training, in particular
in a dual form combining vocational schooling and
structured learning on-the-job, is often considered to be
one of the most important policy solutions in combating
youth unemployment. The evidence available supports
this perception, but the institutional requirements of
a successful training system also have to be taken into
account from a policy perspective.

Click to Read

1,200 girls petition Parliament over pads

home004+pixParliament. In a desperate attempt to stay in school, girls last Thursday narrated how they are forced to rip pages out of their books to use as an alternative to sanitary towels.
The students partly blamed the high school dropout rate on lack of sanitary towels to keep them in class during their menstrual periods.

Speaking on behalf of hundreds of stranded girls across the country, 1,200 girls from Tororo schools, in their petition to Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, said the agony they go through during menstruation periods opens them up to ridicule and bullying from boys, adding that the fear of staining one’s clothes and the shame they endure “when it happens” affects their self-esteem and confidence, forcing many of them to opt out of class or sports activities.
The girls have demanded that the government through the ministry of Education increases funding for menstrual health management in all schools across the country so that their menstrual health is properly managed. They have also demanded that painkillers be distributed in schools.

Ms Idah Nabunnya, an official from Mifumi, a non-governmental organisation, who helped the girls to get their petition to Parliament, said: “This is extremely humiliating and uncomfortable for many girls mostly because of the risk of staining their dresses since the padding is not sufficient.”
“Increasing funding will accelerate the implementation of facilities that guarantee a dignified and healthy menstrual experience for girls, opening up space for them to compete fairly with boys and enabling them to reach their full potential,” the petition backed by Mifumi says.

When contacted, Education minister Jessica Alupo said: “We are sensitising parents to provide all those [sanitary towels and painkillers] to girls as a matter of priority”
The UNICEF 2005 report estimates that one in 10 school-age African girls does not attend school during menstruation or drop out at puberty because they lack clean and private sanitation facilities.
A standard packet of pad costs Shs2,500. In 2013, government announced a grand programme that would see primary school-going adolescents get free sanitary pads.

What girls want
– All schools must provide girls with sanitary pads and painkillers,
– Integrating menstrual needs in designing sanitary facilities which would require construction of changing rooms and provision of a water source next to the facility.
-Mandating each school to have a senior woman teacher to cater to girls’ needs one of which is menstruation.


Vocational trainers asked to take refresher courses

Students of Bench work Practice exhibit Bench Work during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.
Students of Bench work Practice exhibit Bench Work during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.

By Clare Muhindo

An official in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports (MOESTS) has asked tutors in vocational training institutions to take refresher courses, in order to keep up with new technological trends.

Sarah Namuli-Tamale, the Commissioner Business, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) made the call during an open day exhibition at Nakawa Vocational Training institute (NVTI) in Kampala.

Michael Kirungi and Brain Ssenkaayi demonstrate how to renew a motor during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.
Michael Kirungi and Brain Ssenkaayi demonstrate how to renew a motor during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.

Namuli said many of the teachers in vocational training institutes are still stuck with the old technology, making it hard for the public to change their attitude towards vocational training.

“Many people still perceive vocational training as education for failures, and this will not change if teachers do not undergo refresher training,” she said.

 Lutaaya Wilson and Katusime Maureen exhibiting an operating system of traffic lights during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.
Lutaaya Wilson and Katusime Maureen exhibiting an operating system of traffic lights during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015.

She added that managers of institutes too need to be continuously refreshed, in order to be able to choose the relevant equipment for their equipment.

This was in reference to the Principal of NVTI who said that tutors at his institute are often taken to japan for refresher courses.

Students of Nakawa Vocational Training Institute demonstrate how the light system works in a car during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015
Students of Nakawa Vocational Training Institute demonstrate how the light system works in a car during Nakawa Vocational Training Institute open day on 16/7/2015


Godfrey Muwanga, the Principal of NVTI noted that there are fewer females at the institute compared to males, and attributed this ratio to the cost of the course.

“We have not received enough funding from the government, yet the programmes are quite expensive,” he said,
NVTI has only 126 girls out of 1056 students.

Muwanga added that the programmes are not female friendly; hence many girls do not enroll.

Low maintenance plants

hp03+pixMaintaining a smart garden is not easy. You will require a hefty sum just to hire a gardener to do it for you. However, if you would like to keep costs down by doing it yourself, you will have to choose plants that are easy to maintain, but can still look good.
Below, Hakim Babara, a compound designer located on Mukwano Road in Nsambya, shares some tips:

‘Rock garden plants like Cacti are easy to maintain. Plant them in sand, whether in pots or in the ground. You will not need manure for them. If you don’t have sand, mix charcoal in loam soil and plant them.
You can then leave them for a month. But you need to water them the day you plant them. After that, you may not water them at all. However, if you have mixed them with some flowers that need to be watered regularly, then you can water them. They do not need any spraying or mulching.

Succulents are also easy to maintain. These are plants that have thick water-laden leaves. Plant most succulents in pots.
Plant them in sand. If you use loam soil, most of them will rot. Water them when you have planted them, then you can leave them for three weeks without watering them. That means you can water them once every three weeks. They will not need any manure, mulching or spraying.

Air Orchids
Air Orchids are also easy to maintain. They use air to grow, which means you can water them, but it is not necessary. Hang them on tree trunks, especially trunks of dead trees. Use a rope or thread to tie them to the trunks. You need to consult someone who knows about them. Hang them there the way you would, hanging baskets.
They have roots that should rotate around the trunks where you have hung them. They feed on moss, so you have to provide moss for them. Plaster the moss on the trunks where you have put them.
Look around for the moss. You can find it in forests. It is also available in most villages, especially on mango trees. Water Air Orchids once a month. They do not need any spraying or mulching.

Flowering plants with succulent leaves, like Costus, also don’t need a lot of maintenance. Plant them in loam soil. They will need some manure, not a lot of it. Water them once a week.
You may need to spray them, but not regularly, because they are resistant to pests. You can also mulch them if you wish, but it is not necessary.

Night Queen and the Gardenia
The other two plants that do not need a lot of maintenance are the Night Queen and the Gardenia, both shrubs. Plant them mostly in the ground. Dig big holes and plant them with good loam soil. Cover them with more good loam soil and apply manure on top of that soil.
Water them twice a day for a month and that will be it. They will need spraying, but not regularly. Spraying once a month will do. Mulch them if you wish, but it is not necessary. Remove dry leaves, flowers and dead branches from them.

Those are the plants that need little maintenance, but most plants need a lot of maintenance.’
If you want plants that need little maintenance and feel these are too few, use each species in groups and keep repeating them until your garden looks full.

Cook without fire and save time

Irene Danze Serunjogi makes and uses cooking bags.
Irene Danze Serunjogi makes and uses cooking bags.


This cooking bag saves energy, time and money. Jackie Nalubwama met a lady who makes and uses them

It looks like a normal big bag made of Kitenge fabric, only that it is rather bumpy by design.

To Irene Danze Serunjogi of Lweza, the cooking bag is special because it reduces the cooking time by half the time she would have spent cooking on a stove.

The beauty about it is its simplicity; it does not require a manual, but a simple demonstration.


“You can cook your food, say beans or beef, for 30 minutes, compared to the hour and half you would have spent normally. Then you cover the dish tightly with its lid and place it in the cooking bag,” said Serunjogi.

Before placing the dish in the bag, Serunjogi said that you have to first put the bottom seal at the base of the bag, then the dish with food, cover it with the top seal and then tightly fasten the bag by pulling the drawstring.

Serunjogi makes the cooking bags at her home. It takes her a whole day to make one.



She buys the fabric from local shops and the foam stuffing from mattress shops.

“I basically stuff the fabric with foam, and also stuff the bottom and top seals,” said Serunjogi.

The seals are the parts that look like small cushions. After stitching the stuffed material in, the bag is done, complete with a drawstring at the top.

Serunjogi cautioned users to make sure the dish lid, bottom and top seal are tight so that the heat does not escape.



Revamped technology

Oddly, this is not a new concept. Women world over have been using one form or another of this method for centuries, but the cooking bag makes it more convenient.

In Europe, women used to put food in a hay box and in Africa, they sometimes put food in the ground.

The concept is basically to avoid heat escaping so that food cooks slowly.

In the UK and South Africa, it is called a Wonderbag because its inventor, South African Sarah Collins named it so.

Collins wanted to help the African woman save water and reduce deforestation because they cook with firewood, which also has the burden of smoke.

Serunjogi’s main target is working mothers who do not have enough time to cook.

With this bag, they can start off cooking their food at work, put it in the cooking bag and go home with their dinner.

“It is also easy to serve; even husbands who are clueless in the kitchen can serve themselves,” said Serunjogi.

This makes the bag a must-have for the busy person who needs to redeem time, and for the poor who need to save every shilling they make.

Serunjogi said she has saved sh1.5m on gas and charcoal since she started using the cooking bag a year ago.



Cooking time

As with normal cooking, not all foods cook at the same time in the bag. It also depends on how long the food was heated beforehand (see table for recommended times). The food can stay in longer as you save fuel or energy.

Serunjogi said cutting food into smaller pieces also helps it cook faster, so does using a pan that fits the cooking bag.

“You also have to fill the pan by at least 75%,” she noted.

The bag can be washed at home or dry cleaned.


Small bag for one dish costs sh50, 000.

A medium cooking bag can take two dishes and costs sh75, 000.

A big cooking bag costs sh100,000 and can accommodate three dishes/ saucepans at a go.

Harvard experts predict Uganda economic growth

According to the Havard report, Uganda’s economy is expected to grow at an impressive a rate of 6% annually.
According to the Havard report, Uganda’s economy is expected to grow at an impressive a rate of 6% annually.

By Moses Walubiri

INDIA and Uganda are poised to lead global growth in the next decade as new economic projections indicate the ascendency of countries on the Indian Ocean rim and East Africa.

With average annual growth projections of 7.9% and 7.0% for India and Uganda, respectively, the latest report by the Centre for International Development (CID) at Harvard Universityindicates relative stagnation for Europe and the US, while China’s growth will start to peter out.

CID’s projections are based on the newly released 2015 global trade data and The Atlas of Economic Complexity, an online tool which measures a country’s productive knowledge and predicts its rate of growth.

According to the Financial Times’ John Authers, a senior columnist, “CID has a successful record of identifying which countries are positioned to grow. Based on the latest global trade data for 2015, they aim to identify the drivers of why some countries grow, while others do not.”

Authers published an article about the predictions in the Financial Times.

With the exception of India and Philippines, all the countries in the top 10 are in Africa — Kenya (6.7%), Malawi (6.5%), Tanzania (6.5%), Egypt (6.0%), Madagascar (5.9%), Zambia (5.8%), Senegal (5.5%) and Philippines (5.5%).

“Our economic complexity predictions find India’s disputed upper hand in growth will expand into a widening gap in the medium-term, with growth projections to 2023 predicted to be at 7.9% annually, ahead of the 4.6% for China,” said



Ricardo Hausmann, Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School), the leading researcher of The Atlas and the director of CID.

The projections also favour Pakistan’s potential, at 5.1% predicted growth, presenting a clear picture of South Asia and East Africa’s positive growth outlook.

The report notes that countries like India, Kenya and the Philippines have made quantum leaps in diversifying their exports “into more complex products”.

Citing the example of Libya, Venezuela, Namibia, Georgia and Qatar — all oil-based economies — the report warns of the dangers of failure to economically diversify as vindicated by the plummeting oil prices.

“For Uganda’s case, the economic projections are feasible. Government’s current investment in infrastructure will spur agriculture and create jobs,” Dr. Tom Mwebaze, Makerere University’s head of the department of policy and development economics, told New Vision on Sunday when asked about the projections.

Citing the example of China, Mwebaze downplayed concerns about Uganda’s fast-growing population turning out to be an impediment.


“As long as the population is productive, there is no problem,” he said.

Commenting about the predictions, finance minister Matia Kasaija said: “This growth rate is feasible and in line with our projection. This will be possible if we continue investing in infrastructure, woo investors, avoid sinking resources into consumptive expenditure and encouraging more Ugandans to enter the money economy”.

As to whether this will help scale down poverty levels is another matter. It is possible to increase wealth creation without reducing poverty” he added.

63-yr-old back in school to become a journalist

Adinga David Ojom in class with his fellow students at Dr. Obote College.
Adinga David Ojom in class with his fellow students at Dr. Obote College.


A father of  eight  who also has 24  grandchildren and once sat his Primary  Leaving  Examinations (PLE) in 1977 is  now  ready  to sit  his  UACE examination papers this  year.

Ojom Adinga David, a resident of  Bata sub county, Awong  parish in Dokolo district  has  registered with Dr. Obote  College , one of the  prominent  and best  performing  schools in Lira.

Ojom who is living  with  disability  said  he  does  not  want to be called so because  what  he is attempting to do, proper  men cannot.

Ojom says he has saved enough to see him through school.
Ojom says he has saved enough to see him through school.

“I have  saved  more  than five  million  for  my  studies and  I want to make  it  to my  perfection” he said

“My  first  born stopped  in primary  five, and  the  rest  of  my children didn’t take  education seriously after  I wasted all my resources to pay  their fees” he added.

However, in 2013, Ojom sat for his UCE exams at Bata Secondary School and scored aggregate 47 and was admitted to Dr. Obote College to continue his education.

Ojom is living with a disability.
Ojom is living with a disability.

“With English language, History, Divinity and Computer studies, i want to become a journalist”. He added.

“What inspires me so much from journalists is the way they carry themselves in public, their big cameras and they even get to be known worldwide”.

According  to his  wife  Amolo Betty, because her  husband  is  schooling, land conflicts  between  her  family and  his  brothers  have cropped up. She says they have encroached on her land and have started cultivating on it since Ojom spends much of his time in school.

Ojom in the school dormitory after classes. His wife has claimed she lives like a widow because of his prolonged absence while he is schooling.
Ojom in the school dormitory after classes. His wife has claimed she lives like a widow because of his prolonged absence while he is schooling.

“I am like a widow on my land because my husband is never with me” she lamented.

She  added  that this  might  contribute  to  poor results  for her  husband  because  on many occasions  he  must  go back home  to settle land  disputes.

Fred Kiwanuka, the headmaster Dr. Obote College said Ojom is one of the best students.

“He got 13 points in our internal pre-mock test and he was amongst the best ten.”

Linking farmers to agro input dealers

Farmer shopping for seed, fertilisers and other agro-inputs from a dealer shop.
Farmer shopping for seed, fertilisers and other agro-inputs from a dealer shop.

Many Ugandan farmers are yet to embrace the use of agro-input in their activities, let alone quality products from quality dealers. In light of this, there are a number of sensitisation exercises for the farmers as well as initiatives to link them with agro-input stockists depending which part of the country they are.
Farmers in eastern Uganda—in Mbale, Soroti, Sironko, Manafwa, Bududa, Katakwi, Kumi and Namutumba districts—are the focus of a programme by Usaid Agro Inputs Activity.

Address challenges
It includes an annual exhibition with agro-input dealers from selected districts. This year, the exhibition was held in Mbale and it attracted farmers and agro-input dealers from eastern Uganda.
George Davidson Wanakina, the district production and marketing officer, Mbale, explains that the exhibition is important to farmers in increasing their production if they adopt fertilisers, herbicides, agro chemicals, improved seed, animal and poultry feed, among others.
As such different players in the value chain should be involved in the network. This will help address challenges faced by farmers in selecting the right inputs.

For farmers dealing in oilseeds, the district authorities are promoting Panama sunflower breed which can be supplied to oil processing companies. For maize, they are encouraging seed companies to pack its seed in quantities ranging from 2kg to 50 kg depending on the demand with tamper-proof seals on the packages.

Appropriate information
Ronald Rwakigunda, a field operations officer with Usaid, notes that farmers need to link with agro-input dealers to avoid dealing with middlemen. His team intends to rotate the exhibitions in the 18 districts with support from different stakeholders including Uganda Seed Trade Association.
Robert Katende, another official from Usaid, adds that they are setting up a web-based platform with appropriate information that is specifically targetted at agro-input suppliers and farmers. The intention is to aid them in making informed decisions.
For instance, as far as beans are concerned farmers are encouraged to grow Nabe 4 and K132 varieties if they are in the lowlands and Nabe 12 climbing beans if they are located in the highlands.

For maize, farmers are encouraged to buy the Longe hybrid varieties while for horticulture farmers, there are the recommended pesticides. Here are the individual accounts of the various players in the value chain. A farmer, researcher, agro-inputs dealer and agronomist.


I am Gabriel Ewalu, an agronomist at Acila Agro-input Enterprise in Soroti. My main task is to offer advice and information to farmers on the agro inputs they have bought from us.
Basically, I tell them what works best for their particular farming activity. I advise them on how to utilise herbicides, fungicides, fertilisers and to use the right seed.
Another thing I advise them on is the proper handling of agro chemicals such as using gloves and spraying in the right direction. For example, for selective herbicides, it is advisable to use 150-200 mls for an acre. If there are perennial weeds, it is 250-300 mls.

In as far as the fungicides are measured, most manufacturers pack them in 50 grammes for the powders and 20 litres for the liquid.
We also sell quality seeds mainly from approved companies as well as the research institutes. These include African kale (sukuma wiki), eggplant, onions, cow pea, pigeon pea, maize, groundnut, and green gram.

I am Amos Mubale, 65, from Hamoto village in Mbale District. I have been doing commercial farming for more than 10 years but using rudimentary methods where I was realising less yields.
The team from Usaid have been conducting sensitisation campaigns. They have established demonstration fields to show farmers better methods like applying fertiliser and using herbicides.
I have been doing it manually from clearing the bush using hoe, digging and transplanting from the nursery. From an acre, I would harvest 150 bags of rice. I am optimistic that with proper use of the right agro-inputs, I will get more yields.

I am Robert Kutosi, 34, a rice farmer in Bwabale village, Bulambuli district. I grow rice on two acres and I make use of fertiliser. From this, I get about 40 bags in a season. Together with other farmers, we sell as group to the cooperative union. We bulk our produce and sell to the union in Mbale or we take it to Tororo where a better price is offered. Some of the farmers in the group grow others crop such as sunflower and tomatoes, which I am thinking of doing.

My name is Moses Emmanuel Tuka. I work with International Fertiliser Development Centre and I am based in Mbale.
We are mainly engaged in soil mapping in Kapchorwa, Sironko, Mbale, Bududa districts, among others.
This is in an effort to know which soils are fertile and which ones lack nutrients and then advise farmers accordingly on which crop to grow on which type of soil.
For example, soils in the highlands are good for maize, barley and wheat. Those in the lowlands can be utilised for rice, beans, sweet potatoes and green vegetables.
We usually advise farmers to grow rice in soils that contain nitrogen, potassium, ammonium, phosphate and sulphate but in case the soil is lacking these ingredients, farmers are advised to purchase them in form of fertilisers and add to the soil.

Since 2013, my team has been mobilising farmers in groups and sensitising them about their soil use.
In eastern Uganda, we are working with about 15,000 farmers. We also link them to agro-input dealers as well in a bid to support them obtain good yields.
We have also encouraged them to sell their produce collectively or through cooperative unions to avoid being exploited by middlemen and getting lower prices.

Agro-input dealer
My name is Robert Oryada and I am the director, Acila Agro-input Enterprise Ltd, which is based in Soroti Town.
This enterprise, which is a family business, started in 1996 by stocking grains. After ten years, it was diversified into the agro-input business.
Apart from this, we have a farm along Moroto Road where we breed citrus orange fruit, which we sell to farmers in the region.

We are also involved in the sensitisation exercises for on use of the right agro-inputs.
We do this in collaboration with Usaid, which provides the expertise as well as encouraging us to supply quality inputs that boost farmers’ production.

Miss Uganda contestants learn about agriculture

Top, one of the beauty pageant contestants waters plants in a greenhouse. Above, the contestants pose in one of the fields.
Top, one of the beauty pageant contestants waters plants in a greenhouse. Above, the contestants pose in one of the fields.

In a bid to interest more young people into agriculture, the Miss Uganda Foundation organised a boot-camp at the National Crops Resources Research Institute-Namulonge.
The boot-camp is part of the search process and was conducted from June 22 to June 26, with support from Uganda Biosciences Information Centre.
The week-long intensive training for the beauty queens involved introduction to basic crops’ agronomy for key crops such as maize, beans, cassava, rice, and fruits.
Also, the contestants were introduced to advanced techniques used in crop breeding such as agricultural biotechnology.

They got basics on tissue culture, molecular biology, and how they were being used to improve crops.
While addressing the contestants at the tissue culture laboratory, the head of the root crops programme, Dr Titus Alichai, appreciated the organisers’ focus on agriculture.

Positive ambassadors
He noted that the young people comprised the largest majority of Uganda’s population, and interesting them in agriculture was a step in the right direction.
Dr Alichai further urged the beauty queens to be positive ambassadors to their communities, on what they learnt at the institute.
Juliana Nabwowe, one of the contestants appreciated how enlightening the boot-camp was in learning about agriculture.

“I have learnt that there are modern ways of improving crops like using tissue culture,” she said.
For other contestants such as Miss Safinah Nakitende who was already doing farming, it was a chance to learn more about better ways of growing crops. “In addition to what I knew about maize farming, I have learnt about modern ways of growing maize and its various types plus how to properly take care of it”.
A total of 21 girls are taking part in the contest with the final winners to be announced on July 10.
The outgoing Miss Uganda, Leah Kalanguka, has spent most of her reign urging the young people to embrace agriculture as a business. She is a mushroom grower and rears poultry as well.

Janet Nalugya, the coordinator for the Miss Uganda pageant, noted that their focus on beauty broadened from being not only about looks, but with a purpose as well.
“In the last five years, we have had a keen emphasis on agriculture, as a way of positively changing young peoples’ mindsets about the enterprise,” she noted.
She revealed that the theme on agriculture will still run for the subsequent beauty contests.

In their own words
Diana Nabimanya: “Agriculture being the Uganda’s backbone, I am excited to share that at this research center, most problems facing the agricultural industry, in this case the farmers, modern agriculture has come with solutions like breeding, planting disease resistant crops among other.”

Zahara Muhammed Nakiyaga: “Since my family grows cassava, I now know that cassava stems should not be brought from one garden to another however good, for this leads to the spread of diseases from one garden to another.”

Immaculate Ijang: “I must say that biotechnology must be embraced by all Ugandans. This because it gets us exposed to a variety of improved crops.”
Bridget Sanyu: “I have learnt that biosciences can play a very huge role in improving the production of agricultural products.”

Barbara Namuddu: “Let us change our attitude towards agriculture. Agriculture is not a poor man, agriculture is beautiful, and it can help us earn a living.”

Maracha woman abandons 12-year marriage for school

Ms Driciru with one of her children before reporting to school last week.
Ms Driciru with one of her children before reporting to school last week.

MARACHA. A 28-year-old woman from Pio village in Yivu Sub-county, Maracha District has returned to school, 12 years after dropping out due to pregnancy.
Ms Vicky Driciru reversed her decision to leave marriage life and return to school after seeing the benefits and efforts on promoting girl-child education in Maracha. Ms Driciru is now a Senior Two student at Yivu Senior secondary school after she dropped out in Senior One from Nyadri Urban Secondary School in 2003.
Speaking to Daily Monitor this week, Ms Driciru said she dropped out of school after she became pregnant by a man she is related to and was consequently dismissed from school. She stayed with her parents for two years, before conceiving again to the same man.
Five years later, she got married to a primary school teacher with whom she bore another baby.

Many challenges 

“I abandoned the marriage for studies because there are now many challenges today and I already have three children. I realised if I continue with the marriage, nobody will cater for my children,” Ms Driciru said.
She said attempts to convince her husband to take her to school never yielded any fruit since he was not ready to pay school fees.
The decision to return to school took her brother Baptist Dramaza by surprise.
“When she came to me requesting to go back to school, I took it lightly because we were already disappointed by her previous conduct. I later accepted after realising that she was serious.” Mr Dramaza said.
Ms Florence Badaru, the Yivu SS senior woman, said Ms Driciru is doing well at school.
“We are happy that this should be an inspiration to other students. She is disciplined and hard working. We have not registered any problem with her,” Ms Badaru said.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the futurist ideology and movement. For the critique of humanism, see posthumanism. For the pattern of seasonal migration, see transhumance.
For persons experiencing incongruence between their gender identity and biological sex, see trans man, trans woman, and transgender.

Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movementwith an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.[1] Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and dangers ofemerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well as the ethics of developing and using such technologies.[2] The most common thesis put forward is that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label posthuman.[1]

The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught “new concepts of the human” at The New School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and worldviews“transitional” to posthumanity as “transhuman“.[3] This hypothesis would lay the intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990 and organizing in California an intelligentsia that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.[3][4][5]

Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives.[3]Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world’s most dangerous ideas,[6] to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the “movement that epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative and idealistic aspirations of humanity”.[7]

For more please visit the link below

How to plan for a nursery

Some of the most important aspects in planning a nursery or a toddler’s room is sleeping, playing, storage and studying as they grow up.
Two different options shown here are of a well-utilised sizeable children’s room, and it consists of the following; a bed, wardrobe, table and chair, book shelves, toys, sculptures, photos among others.

The nursery should be accessible through the parents’ or master bedroom. This makes it easy for the mother to respond and hear when the baby cries.

Provide adequate lighting in the children’s rooms, during both day and night.
This, therefore, requires that you have medium-sized windows that are placed strategically and for the night light, go for white lights instead of coloured ones.

It does not have to be very big. As long as it can contain a bed, small wardrobe, a chair and a baby bath section.
There may not be a limit to how big the children’s room should be, however, with space of 2.2M x 3.6M you can have a wardrobe, table and chair, bed, shelves and allow free space. It’s important not to make the rooms very small, since it can be repurposed as the child grows up.

Furniture arrangement
It’s important that you have limited furniture in the room and arrange it in such a way that does not obstruct your movement and allows the child (if they are above one year) to move about comfortably.
And the best way to do this is putting the furniture against the wall so that the circulation area is enhanced. The limited furniture will also allow enough aeration in the room.

Spice up the child’s room with bright colours and paintings. You can also use wallpaper because it comes with different baby friendly paintings.

How to care for flowers

Whether one grows flowers for domestic consumption or for the export markets, they require a lot of care and special attention.
Whether one grows flowers for domestic consumption or for the export markets, they require a lot of care and special attention.

To have a productive flower farm, you have to pay more attention at the transplanting, reproductive and harvesting stages.
Although some flowers are planted directly to the main garden, most are are first grown in a nursery bed and later transplanted.
Henry Sendagire, a horticulturalist, at College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, says special care needs to be taken at the various stages.
“At transplanting, apply fertilisers preferably NPK [Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium] between 20 to 28 grammes per plant. Put it in the hole before putting the seedling,” advises Sendagire.

Applying fertilisers
NPK contains three main nutrients needed by plants for different reasons; Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, phosphorous is for the roots and potassium is for flowering.
Measuring the fertiliser in grammes may be difficult, you can use a teaspoon. It is about 10 grammes so apply two to three teaspoons per plant.
If the soil is poor, Sendagire says, repeat the process every month until the flowering stage. Otherwise, then you reapply the fertiliser when the flowers bloom.

This is a critical stage of growth flowers use a lot of energy to reproduce and therefore should be fed a lot. Therefore, fertilisers should be applied every month once the flowers appear and watering intensified.”
Use either ammonia sulphate or urea; in case of the former apply 28 grammes per plant and the latter14grams per plant. Draw circles around the fibrous roots and apply the fertiliser there.
Sendagire says that most farmers use local manure. This is a combination of chicken droppings with goat droppings or cow dung.
This should be applied at transplanting. When you use inorganic manure, it lasts longer in the soil so you do not have to keep reapplying it.

Harvesting is the most difficult stage because you have to deliver a fresh flower to a client no matter the distance. Also customers have different preferences, as some want when the flower is fully out while others prefer when flower is in full bloom.
Sendagire however advises that you harvest when the bud is at the initial stage of opening and make a clean cut at a slanting angle. “Avoid many bruises on the stem with clean cuts. Cut at an angle and after put it in a bucket with a solution or water.”

He explains that the pointed end of a cut stem minimises bacteria from spreading all over the plant. Only a small part touches the bottom of the container in which it is stored as opposed to the one cut flat that would entirely touch the bottom.
Not all weather is suitable for harvesting; so it is recommended that this is done when it is stored in a shade.

Post-harvest handling
In case the flowers are destined for distant markets, prepare a simple sugar solution; put one teaspoon of sugar in a litre of water. Add three drops of vinegar or lemon and then keep the flowers there.
“This will keep the flowers fresh because all living creatures get energy through sugar,” he says.
Also do not be rough on the flowers, use big boxes to absorb shock. Keep the flowers there while moving them to avoid bruising .
“Flowers are luxurious so do everything in terms of packaging to appease the buyer,” Sendagire notes.

Handling flowers for export
When growing flowers for export, you should get phytosanitary permission and also protect the flowers from all pests and diseases by regularly spraying. But use the recommended chemicals on the market.
Also, do not spray today and harvest tomorrow. Give the flowers more than two days for the chemical to wear off.
Although spraying is not limited to flowers for export, he emphasises that the flowers for export should be sprayed even before you see a sign of a pesticide. The spraying should start once the flowers get firm in the soil.


The minimum spacing between flowers should be 45 x30 cm or 60 x 30 cm between rows and columns.

What to note about pig rearing: A recap from the farm clinic

A farmer attends to a sow. One of the major aspects of rearing pigs is the suitable housing and related infrastructure.
A farmer attends to a sow. One of the major aspects of rearing pigs is the suitable housing and related infrastructure.

Pigs are relatively small-sized animals with high reproductive potential and generation cycle. They are omnivores and therefore can be fed on a wide range of feeds.
Rearing them involves different aspects, namely housing and related infrastructure, feeds and methods of feeding, breeds and breeding methods, healthcare and disease control measures, routine management practices and marketing.

During construction, there should be careful siting of the sties to avoid inconveniences from smell and drainage. There should adequate ventilation, space allowance per pig, heat reduction measures for adult pigs, drainage and guard rails or crates in farrowing units. The house should provide easily cleanable floor, drinkers and feeders.
Physical disease control measures should be in place right from the time of construction such as footbaths with disinfectants, fencing to restrict unauthorised entrance and limiting access of pigs to the drainage channels. A waste management unit should be incorporated as well.

Various systems
Pigs are assets if managed well because by 2050, the demand for pork will have doubled.
In Uganda, the consumers want well prepared pork and it is better if there is control of disease, which one is likely to get from eating half-cooked or roasted pork.
There are various systems of rearing pigs. In intensive production, most farmers provide water and feed to the animals. But can also use the waste to generate biogas for energy and the by-product as a fertiliser.
In semi-intensive production, pigs are kept in kraals either throughout the day or for half-day. In extensive production, they are left to move freely. However, farmers are advised to use intensive and semi-intensive systems.

There are different breeds reared by farmers in Uganda. The most common is Large White, which has a lot of fat. In developed countries, the farmers breed it for processing fat.
There is the Landrace, which has good motherability, less fat and lean meat. The Duroc variety has good meat but lacks motherability. Another is the Camborough from South Africa. The hybrid contains combination of the characteristics above. If well-bred, it can weigh up to 120kg depending on the feeding.

Farmers can feed their pigs with maize bran, broken maize, wheat bran, millet, rice bran, brewers waste, cassava meal, sweet potatoes meal, vegetable culls, molasses, fruit culls, incubator waste, ruminant slaughter wastes, sugar cane bagasse, bakery waste and forages.
Other feed sources include soya bean meal, sunflower cakes, tree leaves and stems, palm kernel meal, meat and bone scrapings, blood meal, fish meal, whey and mineral premixes.
But they should not feed pigs with moldy feeds like spoilt bakery wastes because they are toxic.

However farmers have to be careful in selecting feeds from contaminated sources where they may introduce a disease like African swine fever into your herd.
For diseases, the most dangerous that affects pigs in Africa and some parts of eastern Europe is the African swine fever. No vaccine has yet been developed but scientists at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) are conducting research for a vaccine.
Other diseases include the food and mouth disease, which also affects other livestock such as cattle. The parasites include tape worms and ticks.

Piggery in Uganda
Piggery has become an important activity in Uganda. Statistics from International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) show that Uganda has about 3.5 million with the highest per capita consumption of pork. Each person consumes four kilogrammes per year. Compare with European countries like Austria, the per capita consumption is 40kg per person per year.
There are more than 1.1 million families raising pigs in Uganda mostly as backyard activity in both urban and rural areas. Uganda is considered number one in pork consumption in East Africa and fourth in Africa.

Farmers to get paid for trees

A man walks in his tree farm. More than 40,000 farmers are to benefit from environmental projects as Uganda earns Shs660m from carbon credits
A man walks in his tree farm. More than 40,000 farmers are to benefit from environmental projects as Uganda earns Shs660m from carbon credits

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is working on guidelines to enable Sub-Sahara Africa countries to benefit from a scheme known as Payment for Environmental Services.
According to Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, executive director, Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (Ecotrust), this means there is value attached to the ability for the forest to provide clean air, clean water and there is a market out there for those services.

However, Ms Kalunda noted that countries in Sub Saharan Africa, Uganda inclusive, have not been very attractive beneficiaries to this market.
“There are thousands of farmers in Uganda that have participated already in this market. There is a programme called Trees for Global Benefit that mobilises farmers that grow trees on their land,” she said, adding that trees on each land store carbon dioxide.
A value is then aggregated and sold on international market by private companies.
She explained that the amount of money that one gets depends on the amount of environment services provided or carbon storage.

A case in point is the more than 40,000 farmers in Uganda who have been rewarded carbon credits for the trees on their land.
“This workshop has brought experts from around Africa to ensure people benefit from this initiative,” Kalunda said at a workshop which was held in Kampala. The theme was “Payments for Forest Environmental Services in Sub Saharan Africa”.

Enabling environment
“Through practical guidelines, that we are trying to validate, we hope that will be able to provide Uganda and other governments with information on alternative possibilities on how they can better manage the available resources,” said Foday Bojang, a senior forestry officer, FAO Regional Office for Africa.
“As part of our mandate, we provide capacity development for governments to create an enabling environment to enable for them implement these activities,” he added.

Carbon credits

In January, Uganda became the first country to earn carbon credits worth $215,135 (Shs660m) from its waste compositing projects aimed at mitigating climate change. The country had absorbed 16,549 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide thereby being awarded by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Doing banana farming as a business

Young plantation (6months old) arising from planting tissue culture seedlings.
Young plantation (6months old) arising from planting tissue culture seedlings.

Banana growing is a highly profitable venture, whether you have chosen to grow cooking bananas, dessert bananas such as bogoya, sukalindizi or roasting bananas such as gonja, you will be assured of harvesting money.
Based on 2013 Naads studies, properly planned high-input banana cultivation is the most profitable agribusiness venture in Uganda.

Here is a look at the cost-benefit of banana cultivation as a business. Planning begins before choosing a site for the plantation and decision on varieties to plant.
If you are a small scale-farmer (0.5-2 acres), plan with other banana farmers to do some things together and at the same time, such as buying inputs, planting, harvesting, marketing. This will reduce some of the costs.
However, it you have sufficient capital, you can go it alone and your neighbors learn from you.
Let us assume you are going it alone. You are setting up an acre of bananas and for the first year of planting—there are the cooking bananas (Mpologoma, Nakitembe, Mbwazirume, Kibuzi or Kisansa).

These are the initial investment costs: Input costs that will include costs of securing 450 tissue culture plantlets (Shs900,000), fertilisers (Shs262,000), animal manure (Shs630,000), support poles (Shs271,000), mulch and mulching (Shs650,000), herbicides (Shs200,000). These will total up to Shs2,913,000. Note that these are estimates, and may vary slightly depending on a number of factors.

The labour costs include first ploughing (Shs120,000), second ploughing (Shs120,000), digging holes (Shs225,000), planting (Shs56,250), weeding (Shs125,000), application of manure (Shs65,000), desuckering and deleaffing (Shs45,000) mulching (use cover crop such as beans in first and second season, then apply mulch after). These will total up to Shs756,250.
Total variable costs will therefore be those for inputs and labour, which will sum up to Shs3,749,250. Again, note that these are estimates based on experience and may vary slightly from farmer and from farm to farm.

First harvest
By end of the first year, your tissue culture plants will have fruited and ready for harvesting or will be midway of maturity process depending on the variety you will have planted.
Let us assume that they will be ready for harvesting (as 12 months is the average for most cooking bananas), and that you harvest 450 bunches of good size and they will be sold at an average figure of Shs12,000 per bunch (farm gate), you will generate Shs5,400,000 at this first harvest, implying a profit of Shs1,730,750 per acre at the first harvest.

Note that the price quoted here may be an underestimate depending on your location with respect to the market, and the demand at the time of harvesting.
Rarely can a big bunch (bigger than 20kg) of bananas fall to below this price at farm gate. The more acres you have, the more money you make.
However, note that for bananas, the first year is the year of high costs.

If good work is done then, the variable costs will nose-dive to very minimal costs in the second and subsequent years to minimal maintenance costs as the yield triples in these years.
The minimal maintenance costs include costs of topping the mulch, pruning, that is, desuckering and deleafing, chopping stems and corms, and minimal weeding as well as adding manure or fertilisers, and insect pest management.

Subsequent years
Let us consider the second year for example. If mulching had been done well during the first year, you may need to top up the mulch at minimal cost of about Shs150,000 per acre.
If mulching is well done, weeding will be at almost no cost, we can put Shs50,000 per acre for weeding.
Desuckering and deleafing will be higher since more suckers and leaves will be coming up, so the cost can go higher to about Shs255,000 including costs of removing and chopping the pseudostems and corms.
Other costs may include general labour and maintenance costs which can be put at about Shs150,000 per acre.
This brings the total variable costs to Shs605,000 in the second year. On the other hand, there is expected to be an average three harvests of bunches per banana stool per year.

This implies that if you harvested the first bunches in December, the daughter plants will give you bunches in April or May, the grand daughter in July or August and the grand daughter in November-December of the following year.
From the 450 initial mats, you will be able to get 1,350 bunches. Let us be conservative and assume that may be you even get an average of two bunches per stool per year of good size, this will still be 900 bunches.
If you sell at the same farm gate price as the previous year Shs12,000 per bunch, you earn Shs10.8m less our minimal total variable costs of Shs605,000 per acre. The net profit in the second year will jump to Shs10,150,000 per acre.

Dessert bananas
We have looked at cooking bananas, however, the profit margins are even higher for dessert bananas such as bogoya and sukalindizi and roasting bananas such as gonja.
There are also some challenges in cultivation and maintenance of these varieties ranging from low growth rates and susceptibility to diseases and pests.
For that one will need to consult and understand about them as much as possible, as they vary from one region to another.

We have also assumed growing for local market but we have many farmers that are growing for export market, and they are making very good money.
All these are options one should explore as he/she enters this business venture.
I am sure that people will ask, why invest heavily at the beginning buying good quality disease-free tissue culture seedlings, manure, DAP fertilisers, mulching, herbicides?

The choice is up to you, if you choose a low input approach, you may need not to spend all that much but again if your yields or sizes of bunches are not a good size do not blame anybody.
As they always say, cheap things are always costly in the long run.

Take note

With the returns, you will be enticed to expand the banana plantation. The more acres you have, the more returns you will register in net profit.
You can also choose to start big; not on one acre but a number of acres.
However, like any other business, do not start too big as you may be overwhelmed by challenges.
Start reasonably small—one to three acres is ideal for one to learn lessons, confront challenges, perfect the system, build a cadreship of committed workers, and then after a year or two consider expansion. Never sell your bananas at a giveaway price.
The demand for bananas is constant all the year through both in and out of the country. You only need to deal with the right buyers not exploiters.

The writer is chief executive officer,
NSIGOTECH Tissue Culture Laboratory.

Foreign countries not worth the risk – Otafiire

The minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs, Kahinda Otafiire has advised youth to stay home and work hard to better their conditions as opposed to fleeing the continent for Europe. His remarks come amidst a deepening immigrant crisis on the shore of the Europe continent.
The minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs, Kahinda Otafiire has advised youth to stay home and work hard to better their conditions as opposed to fleeing the continent for Europe. His remarks come amidst a deepening immigrant crisis on the shore of the Europe continent.

By Andrew Ssenyonga

Justice and constitutional affairs minister, Kahinda Otafiire, has warned young Africans of the dangers faced by migrants across the Mediterranean and urged them to stay in their home countries and work hard.

The warning was sounded Tuesday during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Uganda and the Pan African Movementists (PAM) aimed at facilitating their activities in the country and the continent.

Otafiire called on African governments to create employment opportunities and better environments for young people.

“Young people should not assume that Europe and other places outside Africa guarantee automatic comfort and pleasure,” he said.

He added: “The Mediterranean has become a crisis zone because of the large numbers attempting to cross to Europe in boats that are usually ill-equipped and overcrowded.”

The minister noted that the increased influx of Africans to Europe and other countries is modern day slavery.

“So what is the difference between those who were forced into slavery and these young people who are willingly leaving Africa to go and work in other countries? No one will give you respect for as long as you are on a foreign land,” he advised.

Otafire said Africa has the resources and opportunities that are yet to be tapped; the youth should stay at home their governments have a lot for them.

Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union, said rather than merely lamenting, Africa must work harder to reverse the dependency which has for so long marked its relationship with its foreign partners.

“African leaders must commit themselves with more determination to develop the continent in order to overcome the constraints which still hinder growth and foster youth flee to the continent,” she explained

Farming tops youths’ income generation

There is an on-going study in southern Uganda headed by Dr Fred Ssewamala, a professor of Social Work and International Affairs at Columbia University, in US. Known as SUUBI Adherence, it is being conducted under International Centre for Child Health and Asset Development, also headed by Dr Ssewamala, and is funded by US government. It seeks to find out how economic empowerment builds hope and confidence among HIV-positive adolescents.

When infected with an incurable disease such as HIV/Aids, many adolescents tend to lose hope and also lack the confidence for positive living. This may result in them abandoning their ARV medication and thus failing to adhere to the treatment.
Many of them were orphaned by Aids and are looked after by ageing grandparents.
They must feed well to live with the disease but their guardians often do not have the capacity to provide nutritive food and the other needs.

The three-year-study conducted in Masaka, Rakai, Lyantonde, Kalungu, Lwengo and Bukomansimbi districts provides training to the youths in income-generating activities of their choice. They are encouraged to save money for tuition fees at a vocational institution or for starting a small business after school by helping them to open bank accounts. When an adolescent saves, say Shs20,000 a month, SUUBI Adherence matches it by the same amount. The money can only be withdrawn for paying tuition fees or to settle an emergency such as an illness.

Out of 506 participants visited within the first year, 364 had started income-generating activities and nearly all of them were in farming. That is, 193 were into poultry, 69 into piggery, 66 into crops, nine into rabbit keeping, seven into goat keeping, and five into cattle keeping. Only 13 were into trading.
Preliminary observations indicate that the income generating activities have enabled the adolescents to avoid risky behaviour. They have developed education and career goals and gained hope in the future. They are able to feed better. The income has contributed to building self-esteem, which is likely to translate into better school grades. There is marked improvement in child-guardian relationship.


Schools must rebuild security committees

As students return to school for their second term, security around the country has been strengthened, especially around banks, roads and schools to ensure the students reach their respective schools safely.

This security should not be taken for granted but rather, should be used as a stepping stone for strengthening safety for all students in and outside the school setting. School security measures must be taken with the view that some students are in boarding sections while others commute from home on a daily basis.

The Uganda Police Force (UPF) on May 15, issued another terror alert to remind Ugandans that the terror threat is still real. Fresh intelligence indicates that there are different terror groups making attempts to attack Uganda and other neighbouring countries.

In the event of the terror threat therefore, the UPF, through the Community Policing Initiative of crime prevention and management, has continuously called upon communities across the country to report any suspicious items, or persons and to implement the practice of neighbourhood watch.

In the school setting, a school security committee would do very well to ensure the safety of all students and staff within the boundaries of the school. World over, schools that have active security committees are known to experience very low or no incidences of crime.

For purposes of emphasis and mandate, some of these committees have been termed as safety and security committees. Not only are they applicable in schools but are also used in several organisations to ensure safety and security of the employers and employees.

In the Uganda setting, therefore, school security committees are tasked to implement safety programmes, create safety awareness, prevent and report crime and further advise the school management on the best safety precautions in liaison with both the police and the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports guidelines.

In addition to security committees, schools should invest in metal detectors, fire extinguishers and install alarms to alert the school of any unusual occurrence or any suspicious persons trying to access the school premises.

As schools open for the new term, therefore, it is paramount that security is given the priority it deserves. Sensitising both the students and teachers on safety measures of alertness, vigilance, self defence, crime prevention and detection plays an important role in taking precaution.

This is more so now, at a time when the terrorists are suspected to be fast changing their targets to include schools. Management must establish and strengthen school security/safety committees that will work closely with the area police management as a winning team.

The key to effective policing as noted by Sir Robert Peel, the founder of the first metropolitan force in 1929, is the awareness that “the police are the people and the people are the police”. Popular vigilance in dealing with crime has been proven to be effective.

School security committees that promote individual participation must be empowered to steer the school’s security in a direction that will contribute towards the growth of the school while ensuring that the students are safe.

It goes without saying that parents and communities trust schools to keep their children safe during the school term. Safety precautions enhanced by school security committees are one way of ensuring that all students and staff have a wonderful time at school.

He built a house out of selling pots

2013_7$largeimg224_Jul_2013_133713040By Glorias M. Musiime
John Ssentuya who studied up to Senior 2, because of no school fees, is one person who has mastered the art of living on a tight budget.
He used to survive on a budget of sh50,000 a month, until he could not make ends meet.
When his parents failed to pay his school fees, he had lost all hope, but had to look for another alternative.
At 22 years of age, he joined Namanve pottery in 2005 where he earned sh50,000 a month.
“When I started things were not easy,” he narrates. Ssentuya had to rent a single room at sh20,000 per month in Bweyogerere.
Sadly after four months of trying to survive on a budget of sh50,000, Ssentuya failed and returned to his parents’ home. But he had grasped the idea of making pots. In 2007 he decided to set up his own pottery.
My business
I got a loan of sh1m from a friend and started making pots. I sold pots between sh10,000 and sh25,000. Good enough I got market from people who wanted to keep potted plants on a large scale.
Somehow from one deal I managed to save  sh700,000 and my wife contributed sh300,000  and I was able to pay back my friends sh1m loan.
The pots cost between sh2,500 to sh25,000.
Business set up
I continued making pots, but the sales were not as good as I had anticipated. I started selling pots for as low as sh5,000 simply because I wanted some money, says Ssentuya.
“After one year and half, I convinced two boys to join me in my pottery, so that we would make pots in large quantities for sale, to big traders,” he says.
Slowly after increasing production capacity the sales increased and I would make sh700,000 on a good day.
Ssentuya makes small, medium and big pots and sometimes makes sh3m a month from this business.
“My customers love my pots because I make durable products,” he says.
Ssentuya now  employs five workers who help him in moulding and drying the pots. In a day Ssentuya can make five big pots and  20 small ones, but this depends on the weather, he says. When it is a rainy season, the pots take long to dry.
On sunny days they take four days to dry. The ones with designs take a week to dry.
Ssentuya says he rarely gets small buyers, he usually sells pots to big companies like Mukwano garden flowers, Lugogo flower gardens and others to people who own apartments.
They come and make orders for over 20 pots. I have three running contracts with two companies that make apartments.  My other buyers are interior designers who usually make orders with me.
I have not planned for the external market, but occasionally whites buy my pots.
Construction process
I had a plot in Konge Upper Makindye Road, Wakiso district  from my father. My brothers sold off their plots, but I kept mine because I wanted to build on it. My pottery was established on my plot as a strategy to keep it.
Construction process
I had a plot in Konge Upper Makindye Road, Wakiso district  from my father. My brothers sold off their plots, but I kept mine because I wanted to build on it. My pottery was established on my plot as a strategy to keep it.
I started construction in 2009 with sh7m which I had made out  of  my business. I made bricks with local masons and the boys from my workshop on the plot.  I spent sh400,000 on bricks.
I decided to build a two roomed house with a  self-contained bathroom next to the master bedroom. I spent some time on the foundation knowing if I start building I will run out of money.
Every day I would buy two trucks of sand at sh90,000 for three days and was paying the porters sh1,500 per day, I had four potters.
I bought six bags of cement each at sh25,000. I built until roofing stage, bought nails and three iron sheets and the money got finished. I took a break for eight months and saved for the completion stage.
When I had sh2m, I got back onto construction until I entered the house. The outside is still not complete, but the inside is okay.
I am educating my children and taking care of other people in the family.
I have a farm and coffee plantation in Wakiso where I always deposit some little money I get from my workshop. Although it is small, I am contented with it because it is an investment.


Widow builds house from plaiting hair

After roofing, Kekibira started living in her house. She expanded it and completed the structure five years later. Pictures by Umar Nsubuga
After roofing, Kekibira started living in her house. She expanded it and completed the structure five years later.

Zubeda Kekibira is a single mother who earns a living by plaiting hair. The 59-year-old had a rough childhood after losing both parents at a tender age.

“During the political turmoil of 1979, I fled to Kenya with my boyfriend, who later became my husband. At the time, I was 25 years old.

“However, 12 years ago, I returned to live with my relatives after my husband passed away,” she says.

Upon arriving in Uganda, she wondered how she could earn a living, given that she was not educated.

Plaiting hair was her fallback, because it is one of the things she had learnt while in Kenya.
“My relatives rented a single room for me in Naguru, a Kampala suburb, where I slept. They also gave me capital of sh600,000.

“I used this money to rent a single room in Wandegeya, a city suburb, where I set up a salon. I spent sh400,000 on rent and the balance on buying a chair, carpet and a mirror.

“My earnings depended on the number of clients I got per day. On a good day, I earned up to sh10,000,” Kekibira narrated.

She said that was not the kind of life she dreamt about, but she is grateful that it taught her to be hardworking and resilient.

Kekibira says because of her good services, she has maintained many clients
Kekibira says because of her good services, she has maintained many clients


“By 2005, I had saved sh1m. I borrowed another sh1m from a micro-finance institution and bought land in Komamboga, a city suburb.
The land cost sh6.5m, so I paid for it in instalments. “I started construction the same year, after getting another loan from the microfinance institution.”
Kekibira said: “The construction was done in phases because I relied on loans. I would borrow sh1m, pay it back in six months and then take more one as soon as I finished paying.

“The number of clients in the salon grew because they appreciated my services. I was able to service the loans, pay schools fees and at times save a little money.”

How she built

It took eight months to complete the foundation. At the time, a truck of sand cost sh60,000, a brick was sh50, while a bag of cement went for sh12,000.
When my relatives learnt that I was struggling to put up a house, they supported me by buying me cement regularly.

It was expensive to transport the construction materials, especially the stones and sand. When I finished the foundation, I bought iron sheets and all the bricks that were needed. The iron sheets cost sh900,000.
I used to pay builders  sh10,000 each per day, while each porter earned sh4,000 daily.

Entering the house

After roofing, Kekibira moved into the house.


From brick laying he built a house

After graduated with a Degree in Business Administration, Paul Mwesigwa took up brick laying which most graduates would find rather unglamourous. Photo by Stella Naigino
After graduated with a Degree in Business Administration, Paul Mwesigwa took up brick laying which most graduates would find rather unglamourous.

By Stella Naigino 


WHEN you meet Paul Mwesigwa, in his single roomed house, it’s hard to believe that in a month’s time, he will be entering his bungalow which he has built on a plot of 100×100 ft.


He lives a simple life and with what he has achieved he believes once one is determined, he can get what he needs in life.


Achieving his dream house

When he graduated with a degree in business administration, he never looked for a job but rather started on his own as a brick layer.


While sharing a house with three of his friends, he borrowed capital of sh200,000 and he decided to lay bricks. With this amount, he was sure he would grow its worth.


His brick laying project really worked for him; when he sold his first assortment of bricks he earned sh500,000.


He re-invested until his capital accumulated to sh2.5m. With this, he decided to open up an electrical shop, but he never gave up his brick laying job.


In four years, Mwesigwa had saved up to sh10m which he used to buy his plot of land in Lugazi.

The front view of Mwesigwa's house.
The front view of Mwesigwa’s house.

He then rented a small 1 roomed house paying sh60,000 monthly so that he could cut on his rent expenditures to save for the construction of his dream home.


“I never wanted to pay high rent but rather save that money for the construction of my house,” says Mwesigwa.


“Deciding to rent a big house calls for a lot of things like furnishing it with good assets but with a small room, you live a simple life and no one cares to know who you are,” he adds.


In 2009, he decided to start saving seriously and at least every month, he could save up to sh500,000. By the end of the year, Mwesigwa after looking at how much he had accumulated on his account; he realized he was good to go.


He decided to give it another one year of saving so that he could start constructing without many challenges on the way.


“I gave myself time to save and I did my research on the cost of building materials on the market, tried to find out the best ones so that I plan better,” he explains.


After doing his research, he had his house plan designed which gave him more courage to build his dream home.


In 2011, Mwesigwa started constructing his four bedroomed house where he laid his bricks himself and also got the rest of the materials like sand, at a cheap cost since he already knew where to get them from.


He directly involved himself in the supervision of the construction, because he never wanted to get problems with the council people or even with the builders.


He built his house in four years and now that it’s complete, he takes his time to move around it just to admire its beauty.


He has just put pavers in his compound just to do away with the grass and also avoid costs of compound designing.


His house has three bedrooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a store and a sitting room.

A side view of Mwesigwa's house. Photo by Stella Naigino
A side view of Mwesigwa’s house. Photo by Stella Naigino

Since he was living in a single roomed house, he had not bought assets so now he is busy looking around for the latest furniture so he could furnish his house with classy furniture.



When he had just bought his land, conmen wanted to sell it to some other person but he realized it early enough and dealt with the issue, which gave him more courage to build as soon as possible.


He decries the high costs of building materials right from a brick to the iron sheets but once you want something, you work hard to achieve it.


He also says that painting his house was a big challenge that at some point, he felt like giving up and entering it just after plastering but after thinking twice, he decided to have it painted.


Choosing tiles was a problem. I had been conned by some people who were claiming to be selling to me the best tiles, their type was actually a poor type but after consulting a friend I was helped,” Mwesigwa notes.


He says building is not easy and someone needs to share ideas with those that have built before so that mistakes can be avoided.


Future plans

He wishes to now enjoy his house before he even thinks of getting married because everything requires one step at a time.


He also wants to buy another piece of land to build rentals where he could earn some money.

Over 19,000 students due to sit UBTEB exams

Sep 2012: Dr.Simeon Wanyama (R) Chairperson of UBTEB releasing the results as John N.Twesigye, the executive secretary looks on.
Sep 2012: Dr.Simeon Wanyama (R) Chairperson of UBTEB releasing the results as John N.Twesigye, the executive secretary looks on.

By Jeff Andrew Lule

The ministry of finance has cleared sh2bn for Uganda Business and Technical Examinations Board (UBTEB) to conduct its 7th examinations sitting series.

A total of 19, 716 candidates are to start their Uganda Business and Technical Examinations on Monday.

The board had halted the examination process due to financial constraints.

Addressing journalists at their offices in Ntinda- Kampala, the board’s deputy executive secretary finance, human resource and administration, Onesmus Oyesigye said they received part of the money and resolved to conduct the exams.

“The problem arose because the ministry had only allocated sh4.8bn out of the sh9bn it was expected to release to the board in the 2014/2015 financial year thus leaving a huge deficit,” he explained.

Oyesigye said their total budget is sh15bn, with sh6bn raised from candidates’ registration among other sources.

“We shall supplement the sh2bn with what we have. We expect to get the rest in the next financial year.”

This release follows a recent letter from the board to the permanent secretary of the education ministry, Rose Nassali, requesting the release of sh4.3bn supplementary funding and sh220m (for registration of government sponsored students) to conduct the May/June 2015, 7th examinations sitting series, payment of arrears to examiners and scouts who were engaged in the November/December 2014 national examinations.

Stern warning

The board has deployed about 1,000 scouts and policemen to supervise and oversee the examination exercise countrywide.

The board’s deputy executive secretary, examinations management, Dr. Wilfred Nahamya warned candidates and heads of centres at various training institutions against any form kind of malpractice.

“Centers found in such acts will have their licenses canceled and students disqualified. Heads of institutions and others involved will be arrested to face the law,” he warned.

He said these are practical-oriented courses, which help candidates apply their skills to start their own jobs than searching for jobs.

Bernard Mugeni, the board’s principle examinations officer, said exams are to be conducted in about 355 centers across the country and about 50 programs/courses will be examined.

Among the courses include higher national diploma in Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Accountancy, Journalism and Business management, Metrology, Lands and Surveys.

‘Set standards’

The first phase will comprise of 4716 candidates in Technical Colleges followed by 15,000 candidates in business and departmental institutions.

Oyesigye said the board was put in place to have a standard recognized certificate.

“About 20% of the institutions do not do our exams. But you know the value of a national certificate. We want all institutions to come on board to set standards.”

He also asked all heads of institutions to allow students sit their exams and use other mechanisms to recover their money.

Oyesigye said the number of candidates is higher compared to that of last year who sat in the same period.

“The number is very high because the board took over all programmes that were previously examined by Uganda National Examination Board and Makerere University Business School among other individual institutions.”


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