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Lessons learnt in China inspire ex-Ugandan diplomat

By Ronald Ssekandi, Yuan Qing (Xinhua)

14:01, March 24, 2013

JINJA, Uganda, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A Ugandan saying that "exposure is the source of inspiration" partly explains the role change of Philip Idro from former Ugandan ambassador to star rice dealer in Jinja, the second largest city of the African nation.

"I did not know how much I would change until I was in China," said Idro, who had served as ambassador to China from 1999 to 2005.

Idro said he traveled extensively in China and learnt the merits of Chinese economic development, which equipped him with skills for starting up business back home later.

Back to homeland, he opened a rice mill where about 200 workers operate Chinese-made machines with low maintenance costs.

The former diplomat earned his name in the rice industry by helping about 10,000 farmers improve skills to produce high-quality rice and lift productivity

Eventhough, Idro said local farmers should work harder to attain the levels of their Chinese peers who produce about 5,000 kg to 7,000 kg of rice per hectare, and that hard-working is the key to the Chinese success.

Idro said that being an agrarian country, Uganda can draw lessons from China's economic development.

"I took time to study this process of how government was involving itself in changing lives of people so that the people grow and become better citizens."

"We do not know much about farming. So the job is to make sure they farm better and once they farm better, they can become richer," he said.

He believed that agriculture could be a area with great potential in the China-Uganda relationship.

"China has got all the machinery we need for agricultural development and this will immediately change the livelihoods of many people (in Uganda)."

Idro also said China makes the right machinery for the labor-intensive Africa, unlike expensive ones from developed countries that are designed to work with minimum labor force.

He suggested that for the agricultural transformation to take root, the Ugandan government should emulate the Chinese government which got involved in helping farmers gain the capacity to produce on their own.

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:GaoYinan、Liang Jun)

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