The first question being, in whose interests does the Office of the Minister of MAAIF work How isn’t it valid for one not to surmise that government’s insistence to label Ugandan smallholder farmers in derogatory terms, such as peasants, when they are not; and subsistence farmers, when they are not; is intended after all. It indeed seems intended, in order that a smokescreen is propagated that allows the Office of the Minister of MAAIF to clandestinely function much like an economic hitman.
It is, in fact, policy of the President Yoweri Kagutta Museveni led National Resistance Movement party, which is the current Administration of the Republic of Uganda, to promote commercialisation of food crops. Promoting the growing of food crops as cash crops. It is thus simply Machiavellian for official government documents and discourse to refer to Ugandan smallholder farmers as peasants and or as subsistence farmers. It is long over due that we detoxify our discourse of culturally imperialistic descriptions that denigrate us.
The only way in which agriculture is a significant contributor to Uganda’s GDP, is if the produce of its smallholder farmers is sold by them and is bought by others who didn’t produce it. Economic exchange must take places and money changes hands, so to speak. This means, de facto, that Ugandan smallholder farmers likely produce for sale in as much as and or even more than they produce for own consumption. And for many that is likely their major source of livelihood.
The implications of an industrialised economy with a developed service sector, as it is espoused in that vision, implies that smallholder farmers and semi-nomadic pastoralists who live in rural areas of Uganda, necessarily have to cede ownership of their land to others better positioned to use it in “optimal” ways. Those currently mal-described as “peasants” are required to transform into landless labourers and service providers and to be like the majority of the British, who are landless labourers.
It is a good start, but the voice needs to get stronger for detoxification of discourse in key fora and documents of formerly colonized nations. For example, the discourse in such documents as Uganda’s national planning instruments – narrative plans and budgets. It does us no good to rename physical assets, while we accept descriptions of us, which falsely denigrate us, to be included in and to form the basis of our nation’s official national plans and budgets.