I am always fascinated by the prospect of discovering a new definition of economics and its role in shaping the dynamics of our society. Some of you are probably still caught up in a maze of figuring out what this phenomenon called “Economics” actually is.
A number of people perceive it differently and therefore have varying views on this subject. Some say economics is a way of life, others say its a science that enables society to utilise scarce resources by making decisions based on individual preferences.
When asked, a colleague of mine just narrowed it down to being some complex subject having lots of incomprehensible jargon, that is apparently only meant for the “elite economist!” Well, I beg to defer. I believe that economics is meant for everybody. From the lady vending maize along the streets to the tycoon owning a number of shopping malls in town, from the illiterate kid digging somewhere in a shamba to the rich kid anxiously waiting for the release of IPhone 8! The only difference is that all these individuals look at economics through varying lenses.
Recently, while chatting with some friends of mine, an interesting topic came up involving economics, its evolution and subsequent impact on our society over the years. We were later on joined by a fellow who was quite learned and knowledgeable in economics based on the thoughts he shared. What stood out for me was his argument that economic knowledge without political power in this day and age is hardly effective. He then posed an intriguing question; “Is economics dead?” To which we all responded almost in unison “No! Ofcourse not!” “Economics cannot die, it’s part of life!” One of us added.
Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, economics has been put in an ideological box and maliciously suffocated by the major players who use power backed by their selfish and myopic interests. As a result, key policy decisions that affect the multitudes are taken by the minority.
Ironically, most of the interest groups have no clue that this is actually happening!
Bye for now…
Close to 70% of Uganda’s homesteads, that is, aproximately 7 out of every 10 homesteads are not in the money economy. Many families still belong to the pre-capitalist mode of production where people do not produce for money but just for eating and social obligations.
Therefore, despite the fact that majority of the people are involved in agriculture, most of them only practice subsistence farming. This type of farming is a major setback to the prosperity of the sector. There is limited production since all the farmers think about is getting enough harvest to feed their families. As a result, the farmers cannot take advantage of increased demand both at home and in the neighbouring countries in times of scarcity.
The room for profit making in such an environment is quite narrow. Potential investors can hardly give it their time and attention since they are mostly profit-minded. Our potential to export agricultural products like potatoes, beans, grains, milk and its products has also been subsequently undermined. The small scale farmers should be educated and encouraged to look at farming with a broader perspective that is not only limited to consumption.
If only the farmers in Uganda would adapt to commercial farming, there would be a ripple effect on the agricultural sector and entire economy.
Until next time folks…
Putting things off is the biggest waste of life. It snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live in the present!~Seneca.
Until next time folks…
We need to strengthen research for efficiently produced healthy food, while ensuring the availability of food at affordable prices. Finding out things like how much and how long it costs to produce a given crop, the available market say in a given region go a long way in ensuring that there’s efficiency in production.
With this information, the farmers are also able to concentrate on cultivating crops in which they have a comparative advantage as compared to those in the neighbouring countries.
“It’s no coincidence that in countries where agriculture has taken off there have been large investments in research and infrastructure.” Kanayo Nwawce, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. (IFAD)
Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us. Only in the darkness can you see the stars. When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope. ~Pittacus Lore.
Inadequate agricultural mechanization is one of the biggest hindrances to transforming Uganda’s agriculture from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The director of National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Dr. Godfrey Asea, recently said that 99.4% of small scale farmers in Uganda use rudimentary and obsolete technologies in agriculture, having tools like hand hoes, hand held axes, shovels, and slashers. Such tools make the cultivation process i.e slashing, digging, sowing of seeds and harvesting very tiresome and frustrating for the farmers. As a result, they end up tilling less land with low productivity.
The introduction and use of machines makes farming much easier than using manual labor. For instance tractors have components like the planter used for planting seeds, fertilizer operators, an irrigation engine, and manure spreader. Other farm tools like grain invaders are used during the harvesting process to pour seeds in silos, and the hay baler is used for parking hay in bales. In addition, these machines also increase the average cultivated farm land per day or in a given time period. This therefore enhances productivity by a great deal.
Modern agricultural mechanization is the way to go because by using mechanized tools, farmers will be able to reap high quantities of improved crop yields. Their household incomes will grow by leaps and bounds as the surplus available for sale will also be in larger quantities. On the other hand, the usual practice of using manual labor and rudimentary tools is rather time wasting and produces low yields.
Until next time…
Agriculture has been the back bone of Uganda’s economy for ages. Recent statistics show that over 80% of Uganda’s population is employed at some stage in the agricultural sector. However, the benefits and direct contribution to the economy are yet to be fully derived and enjoyed by the populous involved in this trade.
While doing research on agriculture in Uganda, I found that the following are some of the major hindrances to the prosperity of this sector. Low commercial agricultural levels, lack of linkage between research and farmers, lack of agricultural machinery, pests and diseases, low level of value addition, land fragmentation, high cost of finance, and the poorly structured transport network.
In my next articles, I will explore in detail some of the elements that have continuously held Uganda back in terms of agricultural growth and development.
Until next time…
Of recent, the International Telecommunications Union estimated that about 3.5 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population will be online in the next year or so. Of these people, about 2 billion will be from developing countries including 89 million from the least developed countries in the world.
“The evolution of mobile phones has not only revolutionalised the way people communicate, but it has also shaped the way people do business all over the world. Many people are increasingly investing in the business which is growing every successive day.” Prosper Magazine.
With this background information, the scope of opportunities that we can tap into will only be limited by our digital skills and knowledge.
Are you willing to acquire digital skills inorder to make productive use of the internet and your mobile phones?
“Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.” Benjamin Franklin.