Is NTV Uganda the new Lokodo: Staff fired over nude leaks

27 05 2015

Nude photos of Fabiola Kyalimpa leaked in February 2015: thanks to a local tabloid, the photos made rounds on social media. This afternoon NTV Uganda announced (internally) that Fabiola who was a TV show host at this station was asked to resign her duties effective immediately. An email NTV management sent to the staff reads:

Dear Enablers,
This is to notify you that Anita Kyarimpa a.k.a. Fabiola has been asked to resign her position as Presenter (Be My Date). This, she has done and it takes immediate effect. The reason emanates from her nude pictures that have been doing the rounds on the social media circuit.
Those in the habit of engaging or those contemplating in doing the same are strongly advised to think thrice of its repercussions. This tarnishes our brand image and values; a foundation on which we are built and respected….

Now, I understand that NTV feels very highly about its brand/ image. However this totally took me by surprise. Is NTV implying that this TV host wanted her nude photos to leak?

Nude photo leaks are becoming a common occurrence in Uganda and the media (especially tabloids) are making a good cut off the leaks. We can blame social media and the lunatics who make it their business to share leaked nude photos wide but the real problem lies with the responsibility and role of the media. As it is, our local tabloids do not have the etiquette to refrain from publishing the photos but what are other media houses doing about it – especially when one of their own is a victim?

The answer lies in the email NTV sent to the staff, a precise warning. Once your nude photos leak, show yourself the door and never come back! Clearly NTV’s response to Fabiola’s incident is rather appalling. Absolutely zero pity, instead, she is being punished for a “crime” she did not commit. This reminds me of Lokodo, who often thinks that women go around leaking their nude photos and that victims of revenge porn “should be locked up and isolated”. Yes, I do not see a difference between Lokodo and NTV.

In the email above NTV claims that its protecting the “brand/ image” which is rather absurd because NTV seems to be mixing two things – private and professional life of the TV host. Who is the real victim here: the station’s brand or Fabiola (who is dealing with nude leaks and involuntary loss of a job)? I see NTV’s problem, the management probably thinks that the employees do not have a private life or if they do, they should be very careful what they do with it.

When corporate companies respond to these kinds of situations like this, I wonder whether they think about the implications of such decisions.

  • For example, we now know how easy it is to end the career of any of NTV’s employees – leak their nude photos. How convenient or rather, absurd.
  • November 2014, NTV invited one of the victims of nude leaks to a morning show to talk about her experience and how she was handling the public humiliation. You invited one victim to share her experience on TV and yet you are dismissing your own?  This makes me question NTV’s (social) responsibility claim.

The fact that NTV is willing to tell the story of one woman whose nude photos have leaked tells me one thing – that NTV does not mind talking about nude leaks victims on TV for selfish reasons (to make money for the station). Yet, when nude pictures of a station employee leak, that is the end of her story and job!

Bravo NTV Uganda, that is as selfish as you can get.

Meanwhile, some folks are demanding NTV to #BringBackFabioula on Twitter.  Photo by Muhereza Kyamutetera ‏(@MKyamutetera)

Meanwhile, some folks are demanding NTV to #BringBackFabiola on Twitter. Photo by Muhereza Kyamutetera ‏(@MKyamutetera)

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You shared Luzinda’s nude photos? STOP FORWARDING VIOLENCE!

5 11 2014

Desire Luzinda’s nude photos are making a wave on the internet – thanks to Ugandans who have made it their business to not only share the photos widely but also to ‘play Luzinda’ in the photos. What is rather appalling is the fact that many parents (or people) have made their children mimic these poses.

Desire is a really good singer. However, I had never imagined writing a blog about her. Her life, (turbulent as it is) is her personal business. Yet, seeing people go gaga over nude photos makes it my business to say a few things:

What have we learned about Ugandans who have gone gaga over those nude photos?

  1. They are immoral people. We claim to be a country of high morality and yet our actions do not depict that so much. Seeing how much people are talking about Luzinda’s nude pictures in the past few days is proof that many Ugandans are always looking for an excuse to publicly share pornography.
  2. They are violent people. Nude pictures leak all the time. But, the Nigerian man who leaked those photos wanted to humiliate Luzinda. When you make it your personal business to share those pictures publicly, you strip her of the (little) dignity (left).
  3. They do not know the difference between what is cool and what is stupid. I have seen a bunch of men doing the so-called “luzfie” pose and shared photos on Facebook and Whatsapp – that is NOT cool, it is stupid.
  4. They are shallow minded people with lots of time to kill. Someone has printed t-shirts with stick figures mimicking a pose in the nude pictures. While this is a business idea, its not appropriate. Use something more culturally appropriate, something that does not offend a woman!

What is rather more disappointing is the Minister, Lokodo who wants Desire Luzinda (who by the way is the victim) arrested over violation of the Anti-Pornography Act. This Minister who probably knows nothing about Facebook said “you can imagine how she exposed pictures on Facebook, she should be locked up and isolated” – Daily Monitor. Lokodo is not any different from those hooligans who blame a victim instead of helping them to solve the problem at hand (which to me is thousands of Ugandans: (a) exposing children to pornography,  (b) stripping a woman of her dignity).

I was against the Anti-Pornography Bill before it was enacted because some of the clauses are aimed at censoring the media and freedom of expression. However, now that it is a law, perhaps it should be used to punish the people who are sharing these nude pictures – starting with the man who leaked them. Hopefully the parents or adults who got children to mimic the nude poses will get a life sentence.

Apparently the Nigerian man who leaked the nude photos holds a Ugandan passport. I am not surprised that many Ugandans ignored the fact that many Ugandans struggle to get a Ugandan passport and yet many foreigners hold Ugandan passports.

I can only relate this hooliganism to sadists who undress women claiming that they are wearing “mini-skirts”. Just like those sadists, you don’t care about dignity of women, you just want to strip them naked and laugh about it.

Perhaps you are wondering why Desire agreed to take those photos if she did not want them shared publicly? Well, even someone who has never taken a nude picture would know that you don’t want it on Facebook and the only person who has the moral right to share it is you – no one else.

When you forward/ share a picture of a naked woman (or man) on the internet, you are forwarding violence. Violence against women is not cool, it is a crime! Stop forwarding the violence.

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Uganda: HIV specific laws will make us losers NOT winners.

23 04 2014

I have lived with HIV for the last 29 years. My wife is HIV negative. We have 4 children. When I married her, she was aware of my HIV status, Major Rubaramira Rulanga a member of parliament gave his testimony at during a civil society lobby meeting with MPs.

Statistics show that only 35% of Uganda’s general population have tested and received their HIV results. Majority of the people who know their HIV status are women.

In November 2013, President Museveni publicly tested for HIV in a symbolic exercise to encourage Ugandans to know their HIV status.

Meanwhile the members of parliament have some sort of alternative to the president’s initiative. They want to make HIV testing mandatory and at the same time criminalize the transmission of HIV from one person to another.

These legislators are who serve on the Committee on Health believe that enacting the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill 2010 into law could help address the current HIV/AIDS epidemic in Uganda.

In the 80s and 90s many African countries did not want to talk about HIV because they feared that their tourism industry would be affected. President Museveni and Minister Ruhakana Rugunda were among the first Africans to say, look, we have a problem (of HIV) and we need to address it.

Since then, Uganda has pioneered numerous interventions such as “if you are going to do it, go with a condom.” This is the ABC approach, which was made here in Uganda and it has been a backbone to the HIV fight since the 80s. Through these kinds of interventions, Uganda managed to reverse HIV/AIDS prevalence from a staggering 18.5% in the early 90s to 6.7% in 2002/03. Uganda became internationally recognized as one of the global leaders on HIV prevention and management.

However, a 2011 survey by the Ministry of Health shows that HIV prevalence has increased – from 6.4% in 2005 to 7.3% in 2011. This places Uganda in the same league as Angola and Mozambique, the only three African countries where HIV prevalence is increasing. HIV is one of the leading causes of death in Uganda.

Now I understand that the members of the Committee on Health are probably frustrated but after reading the content of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, I am certain that they are backsliding. Instead of looking for ways to manage the epidemic, the legislators are seeking to criminalize HIV and this bill has a bunch of contentious clauses.

Clause 41 of the bill criminalizes the “intentional transmission” of HIV to another person.

Human rights activists highly criticize Clause 41. They say that it would be difficult if not impossible to establish to court, who was infected first between two partners for the purpose of prosecution.

In Uganda we don’t have the technology to show/ prove that this particular person infected you. According to the Chairman of the Uganda AIDS Commission, technology will not show this because the virus is continuously changing. Members of parliament are aware of this but they still want to pass the bill in anticipation that technology is changing – maybe one day we will have the technology to prove.

A regulation requiring that a pregnant mother and her spouse be tested for HIV to reduce or prevent mother to child transmission is on the verge of failing, Men started dodging antenatal visits many years ago because of fear of being tested for HIV. We have seen overwhelming reports from Eastern Uganda where men hire boda boda drivers to escort their pregnant wives to health centers for fear of being tested. In fact, we have also heard stories where men steal their wives’ ARVs!

“If I know that knowing my HIV status can be used against me in a court of law, why would I test voluntarily?” Dora Kiconco the Director of UGANET said at a meeting with legislators. If this bill is passed into law, people will shun services such as voluntary (HIV) testing because as long as you don’t know your HIV status, you cannot be convicted under this law.

I can talk about the contentious clauses in the bill until the cows come home. If you asked me, the legislators missed the key aspects. They forgot that they legislate for the people and that to effectively manage the HIV epidemic, we need resources. Government of Uganda contributes only 19% to HIV/AIDS programs, the rest of the funds come from donors. This means that HIV is among the least of our government’s priorities.

Members of parliament must know that many their constituencies find themselves in an under privileged position. People need information. At some point, people thought that if you shared a plate, basin or fork with a person who is HIV positive, you could get infected. This was all wrong information. But the government of Uganda intervened very quickly and raised awareness to an extent that even a child understands how HIV is transmitted.

There is complacency among the people but also among the duty bearers. Treat people, educate people – this could help reduce new infections. It has worked very well in the past. Government has stopped doing some of the things it used to do. Over the years we have seen HIV awareness fade away in thin air especially among the young people.

What if HIV Prevention and Control Bill became HIV Prevention and Management Bill? This could help us prevent new infections and manage the patients by extending treatment and support.

“At one point we had reached the point where the whole world knew that we were taking the lead in fighting HIV. In countries where criminalization has not been done, the progress is very visible.” Noerine Kaleeba founder TASO Uganda

It is proven beyond doubt that if we use the right strategies, Uganda can come reclaim its reputation as one of the world leaders in HIV prevention and management.

In 2011 25,000 babies were born with HIV, last year this number reduced to 8,000 thanks to the PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission) intervention. Increased numbers of people going on treatment – about 60% of HIV patients are on treatment. We are making progress.

A recent BBC news story by Catherine Byaruhanga shows “Ugandans selling bogus HIV certificates”. This news story shows a young lady buying HIV negative results after confessing that she is HIV positive. She is buying these results so she can get a job. She is looking for means of survival. What would she rather do?

Now, I totally agree that people who carelessly or even intentionally transmit HIV should be prosecuted. We just have to figure out the right way to do it. Legal experts say thatSection 171 of the Penal Code Act criminalizes intentional transmission of disease (including HIV) and that if there is need, the penal code act can be amended to specifically include HIV.

My opinion is, we should NOT focus on controlling HIV but rather how to manage it. HIV is a challenge but, lets NOT criminalize and stigmatize people when we don’t have a proper framework to manage the process.

Even though the HIV Prevention and Control Bill is relevant, its enforcement remains very questionable. This law will have many loopholes – like many other laws in Uganda. Some people will trickle through the net and the problem will remain.

Did you know that we have the “enguli act” in Uganda? The act criminalizes local brew. What happens today is instead of convicting these people (drunkards); police ends up drinking the exhibit at some point.

Through some of the meetings I have attended between the members of parliament and human rights activists, I have learned that even though some of the MPs use their emotion to defend some of these contentious issues, they are also human, willing to learn and make people friendly legislations.

Only an HIV positive person would know how hard it is to go for a test, to disclose their status and to go for the services.” Lillian Mworeko, Director ICWEA

According to public health experts, the entry point of HIV care is through testing. Lets encourage people to continue test without giving them the impression that knowing their HIV status could be used against them. Lets make sure that HIV services and programs are available, accessible and of acceptable quality for all.

If we are going to criminalize HIV, are we going to improve on the conditions in the retention centers? We are definitely going to have to expand those jails. This is money we could invest in treatment, raising awareness of the epidemic and providing support to the health workers.





Anti-Pornography Bill – the hidden agenda: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

9 04 2013

The talk on social networks in Uganda is now focusing on the Mini-Skirt. Many of my friends both male and female have posed the question: “What is a mini skirt?” Or what makes a skirt “mini”?

I would be arrested for posting such a photo!

I would be arrested for posting this photo and you would be arrested for viewing it!

The talk about the mini-skirts bill followed Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, who said that ‘Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.’

The minister’s statements are further emphasized in the proposed Anti-Pornography Bill. A hard copy of the bill continues to be circulated on the internet but not many people will read it. There are mixed reactions over the bill among Ugandans. According to the media, the bill seeks to ban mini-skirts which is unacceptable to majority of the young ladies and yet a recent radio-poll survey shows support from Northern Uganda supports the mini-skirt ban.

Yesterday night I had the opportunity to review and interpret the bill together with Rosebell (a journalist) and Peter (a lawyer). Our interest in reviewing the bill was to inform ourselves on the content of the bill in order to share with fellow Ugandans especially those using social media.

After reading the bill it was simple for the three of us to come to a common conclusion. That this bill is nothing but another tactic for the government to continue trolling on people’s human rights and most importantly access to information.

Even though the bill seeks to address key issues such as child pornography, the bill does not respect culture, the media and most importantly people’s freedom to conduct business and access information.

According to the bill, “a person shall now produce, or traffic in, publish, broadcast, procure, import, export or abet any form of pornography.” Any one who does this commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding UGX 10,000,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.

redpepper

RedPepper is a national tabloid that is known for printing and reporting on what some people would call sexually explicit content. Now, millions of people buy this paper from hundreds of vendors around the country. This means that the author, editor, vendor and reader of RedPepper could (and will) be among the victims of this bill.

Maybe RedPepper deserves that. The minister also said that, “television should not broadcast a sexy person”. If you like Iryn Namubiru’s music videos, Juliana, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj and the like, if this bill is passed into a law you will never see such videos on your TV sets ever again!

And for you social media junkies who like to party and share your photos on Facebook, be aware that this bill seeks not only to regulate what you post or read on the internet. The bill seeks to install software that will monitor your internet activity. Internet service providers have been tasked to monitor every single user and report those who produce, share or view pornography.

Question remains, what is pornographic (content) to you? If a Muganda went to Karamoja I am sure they would be offended when they see the Karamajong walking with their behinds exposed. But this is part of the Karamajong culture, and part of how they dress, behave and dance defines who they are!
This afternoon Rosebell, Peter and I are hosting a tweetup to discuss the Anti-Pornography Bill. Details of the event – https://www.facebook.com/events/147949672045789/

Download the Bill here: – Anti Pornography bill 2011

Also follow #AntiPornBillUg, #SaveTheMiniSkirts and #SaveMiniSkirt on Twitter





Women, Water and the Economy

5 02 2011

Looking at the series of challenges affecting the people in Africa, one would say that the issue of women empowerment and women’s rights is not very important. If you asked me, I would say, “Women’s empowerment” should be the core of each and every development oriented project. Why? When women are empowered, the economy does not remain the same. They better the livelihood in their homes and as well as their personal lives. Improved income for women means better nutrition/ feeding in homes, improved access to education for the children and general livelihood. In other wards women invest more in education, nutrition, health and general livelihood.

The role of fetching water in the African Traditional Society was assigned to the women and children. Up to the present day, women and children still carry this burden along while the men continue to generate income from water sources. In cities and on the country side of many developing countries you will see women and children in small and big groups carrying jerrycans of water on their heads. Access to water in many developing countries remains a very big challenge – dirty water sources, long distances to and from water sources (usually up to 4 kilometers).

What does this mean for these women and children?

The burden of having to fetch water means that the women and children often have to fore-go other activities – for the women, they end up having limited time to grow food and limited participation in entrepreneurship. The children on the other hand, end up missing out on education and playing. This has further widened the income disparities between men and women. No wonder the economies in developing countries have not registered much development.

The African Traditional Society also regarded women as the food growers. The women and their children were given the task of ensuring food security in their homes. However, the ownership of family plots was always solely reserved by the men. This means that the men had more influence over what is grown on these plots of land. In the same way, the men would take ownership of the agricultural produce. This is still the case in many developing countries.

So, what can be done?

Women should be empowered! But how can the women be empowered in the “modern times”. Many women missed out on the opportunity to go to school. However, this is not a time to regret on the mistakes that we cant take back. This is a time to effect change, a time for a new beginning of a era where Women and Men are equal.

Every tool can help, every project can cause impact. Technology, Football, Music, Art, Education,  Agriculture, Entrepreneurship, to mention but a few have been very key tools in women empowerment.

Whats your contribution towards women empowerment?

The struggle continues…





Life at the Quarry: Made in Women of Kireka!

10 08 2010

Last weekend I took the liberty to visit the Women of Kireka (WoK) office and quarry. The quarry is located in Kireka, a Kampala suburb.

Members of WoK at work in the quarry

Some of the members of WoK at work in the quarry

Jenny and Bridget, the new Women of Kireka interns were so kind to take us (myself, Kelly and two other visitors) for a tour through WoK activities and the quarry.  🙂        It was really nice to visit this project that my friend is helping to raise funds.

Women of Kireka is a women’s cooperative jewelry business based in Kampala, Uganda. By providing business skills training,

added capital and a resilient peer group, WoK is helping its 20 members gain economic independence.  The 20 members part time at the quarry together with their children.

My friend, Siena Anstis was introduced to Women of Kireka in 2008, during her internship in Uganda. She visited the quarry and since then, she has helped women to raise funding to start a tailoring and jewelery making co-operative through social innovation.

Siena is running the Montreal Oasis Marathon on September 5th, 2010. This marathon was inspired by the need to find a way to help pay school fees for the children of the Women of Kireka. READ MORE HERE

Making jewelery (beads) out of paper

The member of WoK using a paper cutter to make jewelery (beads) out of paper

Necklesses/ Jewelery: The finished products!

Necklesses/ Jewelery: The finished products- Made in Kireka!

Visit Women of Kireka today and buy yourself some of that beautiful Jewelery you see in the pictures! Or you can BUY ONLINE to support this project. 😉

Kudos Siena and Women of Kireka for your hard work and resilience!!





I report inadequate food access and availability in Uganda.

14 03 2010

Uganda’s economy widely depends on the agricultural sector. The biggest population of Ugandans benefits from Agriculture – both directly and indirectly.
Many regions in Uganda are practicing subsistence agriculture – mainly because the land is owned by private individuals in small plots; so, the people choose what to do on their plots of land.
Because families practice subsistence agriculture on small plots of land, their target is to produce enough to feed their families until the next harvest. In many cases they fall short of their target. Often yields are not enough to feed the family until the next harvest. This has greatly been attributed to the poor farming methods (many farmers have chosen to remain local – NO diversity in their farming methods), prolonged droughts, pests and diseases.
Under circumstances, the farmers are faced with situations where they have to sell part of their produce to cater for emerging needs – access health facilities, pay for school fees, rent, provide for their families, name it… In many cases they sell their produce at very low prices because the market is not readily available plus the middlemen exploit them because they are desperate to sell.

Threats to Food Security in Uganda:
Poor farming methods. Farmers are still practicing traditional farming methods which hamper their yields. Practices like cultivating up and down the slopes which lead to massive soil erosion, over cultivation not giving soil enough time to regain fertility among others. They grow local crops – which cannot survive under bad weather conditions and more prone to pests and diseases.

The LAND TENURE SYSTEM. Because the land is owned by individuals in small plots, every farmer aims at producing enough to feed their growing families. Farmers are producing on small scale because they are constrained by their plots. In many cases the plots are quarter an acre. The men also tend to have more control over the land as compared to the women – Gender and Land Issues. For example the man makes the final decision over what to use the land for. This limits on the productivity of the women interms of agriculture. Also the man has more control over the yields – in many cases they choose to sell/ trade part of the produce for “local beer”.

 

Pests and diseases. Poor selection of crops plus lack of preventative measure has also contributed greatly to the ever reducing yields in terms of quality and quantity. Many local farmers still grow local breeds which are less resistant to pests and diseases.


Lack of agriculture support and Market Support. The governement/ private sector has not worked out a strategic market and agriculture support plan for the farmers. Farmers are not knowledgeable about the available markets and market prices – hence they are exploited by the middle men. The work very hard season after season, year in year out to feed the nation but their efforts are not rewarded appropriately. The agriculture support programs by the government have not been effective – instead they have been failed by the high ranking official due to corruption, embezzlement and misuse of the funds (see one of the such cases here: Kanungu NAADS Officials Arrested).


The communities remain unaware of the food insecurity in the country. The ministry of Agriculture has not made enough efforts to sensitize the farmers about the inadeqaucy of food access and availability in the country. This has made the farmers more relactant in terms of production. The farmers are also unaware about the opportunities provided by large scale production.


Increasing population – triggering rural urban migration! The population of Uganda is growing at a very high rate. As the population grows, the competition for food and land increases. As a result the demand for agricultural products increases – the supply remains constant or increases by a very small margin making food very expensive. The energetic youth are swarming cities like (Kampala the capital of Uganda) and other towns leaving food production to the elderly. The elderly are less energetic, less flexible and less innovative.

 


Many people still believe that the agricultural sector is for the illiterates. This has made the agricultural sector less sounding over the years. The learned are looking for “white collar jobs” in big companies.


Innovative solutions

Many non-profits, the government and individuals are making efforts to ensure a future with guaranteed food security. Here I must mention the work done by the following:

 

Food and Agriculture Organisation Uganda – FAO’s Integrated Support to Sustainable Development and Food Security Programme (IP). The aim of the IP is to promote synergy through interdisciplinary collaboration and information-sharing across and in support of ongoing rural development programmes.

 

World Food Programme. WFP carries out a range of development activities that seek to address the underlying causes of food insecurity through two priority sectors: agriculture and market support, and food and nutrition security. Agriculture and market support to small-scale farmers and traders aims to leverage WFP’s local purchasing and is provided through the construction and rehabilitation of market infrastructure such as warehouses and community market access roads; training in post harvest handling; and the purchase of the farmers’ produce – mainly cereals and pulses.

 

National Agriculture Research Organisation.


Agricultural Research and Extension Network (ARENET). Agriculture Research Extension Network (ARENET) is dedicated to helping anyone involved in improving rural farming to readily access practical, technical and relevant agricultural information from various national and international sources.

St. Jude Family Project. St. Jude Family Project is a Community Based Organization (CBO) in Masaka, Uganda that began as a small organic farm on 3 acres owned by John and Josephine Kizza since the 1980s. Its purpose is to improve household income, crop yields, household food security and diet. St. Jude teaches the most vulnerable groups in the society ways of improving family subsistence farming and diet. The training techniques use locally available materials and the methods used are environmentally. “Personnaly I have been to this farm twice and I have always admired their work. This family project has been an inspiration to many farmers – today many farmers in smalls groups do exchange visits to this farm.” We need more of such WORKING examples.

Women of Uganda Network through Kubere Information Centre – (one of its projects).The KIC was established under the project “Enhancing Access to Agricultural Information using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)” whose primary target is rural women farmers in Apac District, with partner women groups in Gulu, Lira and Oyam Districts. This project is one of the activities under the Information Sharing and Networking Program area of Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET). The project is conducted with generous financial support from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) and from Hivos.

To achieve a self sustaining food secure future, the governments together with the private sector should work closely with the communities to provide a strategic agriculture and market plan. Listen to the farmers challenges and provide working solutions. Up to now the communities are not aware of the food insecurities they are facing. This is because there is NO DIRECT communication channel between the government and the food growers in the country.

Our country is blessed by nature in that the soils are fertile and the weather is condusive for agriculture. All we need is to sensitize the farmers, highlight the pontentials agriculture is promising and provide better farming skills.