William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President has praised Uganda’s program budded Operation Wealth Creation.
According to him, this program has been very essential especially on far as improving the productivity of farmers in relation to crop production resulting into a surplus of maize, milk and fruits as well as other agricultural products.
“I have been a keen follower of OWC. The people at bottom of pyramid have been provided with grants and inputs to improve productivity and this has contributed to surplus. You have reduced the cost of living here in Uganda. That is something we are keen to look at. We are keen to build from the bottom up,” Ruto said while speaking of OWC.
He said these words about the OWC right after President Museveni Museveni laid the foundation stone for the multibillion Biological Drugs and mRNA Vaccine Manufacturing Facility at Matuga-Wakiso District.
Additionally, he spoke of how proud Kenyans are of Uganda’s progress and they were surely encouraged to work hard as he said;
“Your brothers and sisters in Kenya are proud of what is going on. Uganda of the 70s was a Uganda of shortages including sugar and other commodities but today it is a country of surpluses. As I was driving here, in the market in Kawempe, I saw surplus fruits. We are beginning in Kenya, to feel the surplus in Uganda and we feel the pressure. That reminds us, that we need to rejog our thinking by building a bigger market to supply deficits in Kenya and surplus in Uganda.”
In retaliation, President Museveni said that OWC was meant to shift the thinking of local people from imagining that it is only essential to grow crops for eating but it would also be wise to engage in agriculture for subsistence purposes.
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“These people are not poor. How can you be poor when you have three acres of land or more? OWC is about waking up people. Subsistence agriculture has been the problem in Uganda. People producing for the stomach alone were accounting for 68% of homesteads in 2013. That is why I involved the army to wake up these people to use their land to produce for the stomach and the pocket and do so with enterprise selection and mix (Kibalo),”he said.
The President also observed that for the very first time basing on a recent survey, 61% households are now in the money economy as he went on to say that, “It is still a big number but better than where we are.”