By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: Yesterday President Museveni officiated the handover of value addition equipment and grants to beneficiary farmer organizations at Namalere Agricultural Referral Mechanization Centre in Wakiso.
Museveni at the event revealed, “This project is aimed at reminding farmers that agriculture is a business and they should earn from it, and it is just the beginning, we are going to do more for the farmers.”
He added, “I am happy that we are moving in the right direction as far as transforming Agriculture from subsistence to commercial is concerned. We started the palm oil project in Kalangala. The people on the island have become very rich now because of that project.”
He said that government is now building a leather processing plant at Kawumu and it is soon establishing paper making industry out of banana fibres. “This is because we are spending about $300m importing paper,” Museveni added.
However, Museveni later turned guns against angry ‘corrupt minded’ administrators of NAADs and the Ministry of Agriculture who are reportedly pushing the genetically modified organism seeds (GMOs), warning them that they should save Ugandans from those fake imported seeds aiming to perish Ugandan good and local seeds.
He warned, “I would also like to take this opportunity to warn the people of NAADs and the Ministry of Agriculture to save our people from these fake imported seeds. We have very good local seeds.”
He added, “For months now, I have boycotted onions because we no longer have ‘serious onions’. We are losing our original seeds with real flavours like onions, tomatoes oranges, and others just because some outsiders said we should lose them. They must be restored.”
He narrated, “I remember when I went to the USA for the first time in 1987 and they gave me a pineapple, it tasted ‘strange’. I am therefore protesting our people from using imported fake seeds, we need to keep our foods with their natural flavour.”
Museveni call to protest distribution of GMOs comes after a couple of both Ugandan food distributors and farmers had petitioned various agricultural bodies crying over their perishing local seeds and some of these farmers have since faulted President Museveni for coming late to stop what they call ‘evil seeds’ which are reportedly being distributed by corrupt NAADs officers to local farmers.
“Am not happy with President Museveni who has been in State House pretending to be not aware of how his NAADs officers have been distributing these evil GMO seeds to we local farmers, but anyway I thank him that he has raised his voice although it’s late, you never know his corrupt officials may get shy and stop duplicating our local nutritious foods with fake white’s seeds.” a farmer who preferred anonymity said.
What Are GMOs?
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. The exact definition of a genetically modified organism and what constitutes genetic engineering varies, with the most common being an organism altered in a way that “does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.“
A wide variety of organisms have been genetically modified (GM), from animals to plants and microorganisms. Genes have been transferred within the same species, across species (creating transgenic organisms) and even across kingdoms. New genes can be introduced, or endogenous genes can be enhanced, altered or knocked out.