Kisamba Mugerwa: An Advocate for Small Holder Farmers And Gentleman

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Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa Advocated for Small Holder Farmer’s access to credit and extension services and land management.
08 Jan 2021 13:37
Dr. Wilberforce Kisamba-Mugerwa, the voice for agricultural extension services

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The death of Dr, Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa has been described as a big loss to Uganda’s agricultural development fraternity. The people he has worked with say Kisamba Mugerwa has been one of the experts in the long journey towards the improvement of Agriculture in the country and Africa.

The former Agriculture Minister died on Thursday at Mulago of suspected COVOD-19 infection.

He was 75 years of age.  Kisamba has been a champion for access and use of credit by smallholder farmers in Uganda.

Dr Mugerwa was the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries at the time when the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) was introduced. The PMA had proposed interventions in areas like Technology Development and Dissemination and Agricultural Advisory Services.

Mugerwa had hoped that agricultural extension together with, Agricultural Education, Access to and sustainable utilisation of natural resources, Infrastructure, Rural Finance and agro-processing and marketing would enable the country to achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty through modernizing agriculture.

Dr Slim Nahdy, the pioneer Executive Director of National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) says he was extremely committed to helping smallholder farmers and those who worked on the land.

“He was less the master behind the whole Plan for Modernization of Agriculture of which if it had worked we would be very far in agricultural production. Unfortunately, it was never taken seriously” said Nahdy.

Dr Slim Nahdy remembers that NAADS was extremely vibrant at the time when Dr Kisamba Mugerwa was the Minister of Agriculture.

Dr Kisamba Mugerwa resigned from cabinet to take up an assignment as Division Director International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“He was someone who could speak out his mind without fear or favour. He was very down to earth person. Condolences go to the whole family” said Nahdy who is now with the African Forum For Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).

Dr Margaret Najjingo Mangheni, An Associate Professor at Makerere University’s Department Of Extension and Innovation Studies said Kisamba Mugerwa’s death is a sad loss to the country’s effort to streamline Agricultural Extension in the country.

She says while serving as Chairperson of the National Planning Authority, Kisamba Mugerwa continued to fight to have Agricultural advisory and extension services.

Sasakawa Africa Association Country Director , Dr. Rosaline Nyamutale in a message said " The late Dr. Kisamba Mugerwa was a very good supporter of our organization while the Miniuster of Agriculture. The country has lost a person who loved his country, very good strategic thinker and planner. For the agricultural sector and the country as a whole , we shall miss him." 

Uganda Radio Network interviewed Dr Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa at the time when the debate on the reform of extension services was going on. The President had also transformed NAADS into Operation Wealth Creation.

Kisamba Mugerwa spoke about the idea behind the plan for modernization of agriculture with its components like NAADS.

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Kisamba Mugerwa says professionally he believed that a policy can deliver the intended purpose if properly implemented. He said for the case of the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture, it was half-heartedly implemented. He had suggested that the single spine extension system was likely to fail like the PMA.

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Dr Kisamba Mugerwa was the Minister of State for Finance in charge of Entandikwa.

Entandikwa was a credit or seed money scheme by President Museveni in 1995 as the country prepared for the 1996 election.

It had by March 1994 under the leadership of Dr Kisamba Mugerwa distributed over 6.4 billion shillings to all the then 39 districts of Uganda.

The Entandikwa scheme however collapsed because the recipients did not payback.   He was also state Minister in the office of the President responsible for the rehabilitation of Luwero triangle.

After the 1996 elections, Kisamba Mugerwa was appointed Minister of General Duties, Office of the Prime Minister. He served in that position until August 1999 when he was appointed Minister of Agriculture. Dr Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa was also Chairperson National Planning Authority.

He was appointed Board Chairperson of Micro-Finance Support Center after leaving the National Planning Authority. The late Kisamba was also board chairperson, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Ltd.(SCOUL), UGUMA Engineering Enterprises Ltd, Cable Corporation Ltd among others.