Why Are Farmers In Uganda Poor?

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Perhaps it’s because the Sustainable Development Goals aren’t being pursued with enough vigour? Possibly it’s the impositions of capitalism. Hey, could be racism, colonialism even.

But, in all this, what breaks my heart is that the current stalling on progress of the global goals means we might end up in the same place in 2030, with nothing new, unless something changes now.

I am calling on the global community to get the goals back on track. It’s true that times have changed. But there is a lot we can do, especially if the rest of the world directly supports the extreme poor, to help them create lasting, sustainable change.

In my region, for instance, the inability of rural farmers to access markets for their produce is the reason they are poor. Farmers need infrastructure to create jobs, and support to get connected to agri companies so they can sell their produce. That way they can tread their own path from poverty.

Well, many of those things will help, yes. But that’s not the cause of this poverty:

It is common for many small farmers in my region to own land that only measures 30ft by 100ft (or 0.07 acres). My own mum, who lives in a secluded village, only has half an acre. People’s incomes are defined not by real estate or industrial projects on their land, but by the crops they grow.

They’re trying to fund an entire life off an allotment.

The problem with this being that the life you can afford is going to be whatever is the value of the production of an allotment. And that’s it.

Or, as we’ve all known for a few hundred years, peasant farming life is poverty. Simply because the upper limit of the life that can be lived from the farm is the value of the farm’s output. And the output from 0.07 of an acre isn’t going to be worth very much – look, even if you’re growing cocaine, coffee, heroin or cannabis it’s not going to be much – therefore the lifestyle it can afford is going to be shit.

The answer is that Uganda needs fewer farmers. Those that remain on larger farms, those that aren’t on the land off doing something else. That is, the place needs an industrial revolution. There is no solution without one simply because of that hard upper limit to income determined by the production of an area of land.

Peasant farming isn’t a solution to anything, it’s what needs to be escaped.

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Michael van der RietDavid MoorePcarSpikeMr Yan Recent comment authors
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Mr Yan
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Mr Yan

But it’s good honest labour for the proles.

Spike
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Spike

And job security for the politicians too, every voter in a “job,” and to hell with whether any real work gets done.

David Moore
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David Moore

The Buddhists had this sorted. Everyone gets taught to love their suffering and get to live in the mud huts, while the priests get all the gold & temples.

Spike
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Spike

Well, another cause of the poverty of Ugandan farmers is that they’re in Uganda! where typical consumers aren’t wealthy enough to bid up food prices. Only through the free market can we measure whether a farmer is “too poor.” But yes, in a free market, an entrepreneur with CAPITAL might consolidate individual plots and introduce labor-saving devices to give MOST of the farmers increased income.

Pcar
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Pcar

@Tim W

The 30’x100′ includes their home?

Tesco sell a lot of Senegal veg, what did Senegal do right?
https://countryeconomy.com/countries/compare/uganda/senegal

Does land size issue still apply in French farming?

David Moore
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David Moore

No different to the Irish during the potato famine. Each family had just enough land to grow just enough potatoes to survive. The moment the blight hit, everyone staved.

Michael van der Riet
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Michael van der Riet

It’s because the method of distribution of foreign aid is so inefficient. It should be paid straight into those Swiss bank accounts. The average African is poorer today than seventy years ago when the assuagement of colonialist guilt by paying indulgences first kicked off. I’m not going to confuse correlation with causation, but an awful lot of those basket-case countries (next step beyond banana republic) are avowedly Marxist. Disclosure: I’m one of those fringe lunatic outcasts from the socialist tribe who wants to make the poor richer, not the rich poorer.