ARUA. President Yoweri Museveni has urged the people of the West Nile region to embrace commercial farming in a bid to fight poverty and the rampant unemployment.
The president also discouraged small scale farmers from growing Tobbacco saying it's economically unviable for them.
Mr Museveni who has set other demonstration farms in other parts of Uganda was opening the first presidential demonstration farm at Gili Gili in Arua district on Monday.
"In the Bible, Jesus after his resurrection showed himself to the disciples but one of them Thomas could not believe until he touched his scars, some of you have been doubting; Now the next two months I will invite you to touch my scars on that farm" Mr Museveni said referring to the produce that will be got from the demonstration farm.
He said the local government had given him 10 acres of land which will be used for planting assorted fruits; Part of the land will also be used for animal husbandry.
"I am going to be a rich man using the same soil and water of Arua when you are always complaining of poverty, In Luwero district on only half an acre, I now get 64 million shillings annually, therefore lets wake up and change" He further said.
He also revealed plans to set up similar fish demonstration farms in Madi Okollo and Nebbi district using the Nile water. Mr.
Museveni said the people from West Nile region had in the past been flocking Kakira sugar plantations as casual labourers but wants them to work in their own land through his innovations in commercial agriculture.
"The forest here (Barifa) should not be de-gazetted to put kiosks but we want big factories to be set here so that our people can get jobs" he said.
Arua Municipality mayor Al-hajji Issa Kato had earlier appealed to the president to fast track the de-gazetting of the forest to pave way for big development projects that would eventually usher in the city status for Arua.
Mr Gordon Toa, Arua district production coordinator said the district agricultural office will provide technical guidance on the farm, the sub county extension officer being the central person on ground.
He confirmed that the set up will illustrate the new house hold four-acre module system in which families are encouraged to use one acre for Dairy pasture, one other for perennial crops, another for vegetables and fruits and the last quarter for food security crops.
Through the module, Dr Toa said families can reap as much as 20 million shillings annually.
He said the farm will be open to the local community as a learning place so that they can practice what they see on the demo.
Toa said the community also stands to benefit from the sale of the produce from the farm and other planting materials that they can easily take to their own farms. The farm will rely so much on the Bottle irrigation which he said is tedious but effective in the dry season.