Kayunga. Kayunga District leaders have instituted investigations into reports that youth sell heifers which government distributes under the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) programme.
The youth reportedly sell the heifers, claiming that they lack funds to look after the animals.
According to the Resident District Commissioner, Ms Rose Birungi, the beneficiaries have to adhere to the set OWC guidelines and those who will be found to have sold off the heifers will be prosecuted.
“The heifers are expected to multiply so that they become huge sources of income to their families. Those who have decided to sell them are in trouble .We are going to arrest them and take them to court,” she said in an interview yesterday.
On September 22, Ms Birungi and the district OWC coordinator, Maj Jimmy Sseruwo, handed over 36 cows to residents, of which 16 went to youth.
However, immediately after the function, reports emerged that some youth had come with cattle dealers and that upon receiving the animals, they sold them off.
The youth reportedly sold each of the heifers at Shs1.3m, down from the Shs2.3m price at which they were purchased from Bushenyi District.
“We heard that beneficiaries of similar cows in Mukono District lost them to diseases. I could wait to see it dying, I have sold mine,” said one youth, who preferred not to be named.
One of the National Resident Movement (NRM) leaders in the district said he sold off the cow because he had no one to look after it at home since he has no wife.
Earlier, some residents protested the criteria used to select beneficiaries of OWC programme, saying most of the inputs are given to leaders and not the needy.
“It is not bad for leaders to benefit since they are also Ugandans but the poor people should be considered too,” said the deputy RDC, Mr Yahaya Were.
Maj Sseruwo said the beneficiaries were selected after a thorough survey that revealed that they were able to look after the Friesian cows.
“Each of the beneficiaries must have a kraal where the cow will be looked after under a zero grazing system, plus having enough pasture,” he said.
But investigations by this newspaper revealed that majority of the beneficiaries did not have any of these in place and some of them live in rented rooms.
Objective. The OWC programme was established after the disbandment of the National Agricultural Advisory Services. The programme seeks to facilitate effective national social-economic transformation through raising household incomes to eradicate poverty.
Challenges. However, the programme has since 2013 been characterised by delivery of poor quality inputs, late delivery of inputs, weak farmers groups, absence of well-equipped logistics hubs and inflation.
Admission. Recently, the OWC coordinator, Gen Salim Saleh, said the programme was messed up at its initiation when the soldiers implementing it applied military methods to handle civilians.