King Oyo delivered the keynote address at a conference of dignitaries and politicians from around the world attending the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture. The event held in the United Arab Emirates was attended by delegates representing Governments, industry movers and shakers and world class innovators.
In an impassioned speech, Oyo extolled Uganda’s potential as an investment and agricultural hub and reiterated the president’s invitation to investors to come and explore the vast advantages the nation has to offer. GFIA has quickly established itself as a game-changing platform for everyone involved in the future of sustainable agriculture. Involving 251 speakers across 5 focused conference programmes, delegates enjoyed over 50 hours of conference content. Read the full speech below.
Your Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Mohammed Bin Fahad, Excellencies, Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother of Tooro Kingdom Best Kemigisa, distinguished conference participants, ladies and gentlemen. I am greatly honored and privileged to be here today on the occasion of the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture.
I wish to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for giving me an opportunity to be here today amongst such prominent people from the fields of agriculture, heath and the environment. I am particularly delighted to see so many of my beloved neighbours – including those from Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan.
Today, I bring to you the hope of millions of Africans that our land and our people will have the opportunity to work with you, the leaders of global agriculture. You are our most welcomed partners.
As we discuss global agriculture, I am reminded that what we now know, see in Abu Dhabi and Dubai were not many years ago just a vision in the minds and hearts of great leaders like Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Their legacy to the world has been to show that anything is possible and that success has many fathers. Collaboration is the key to achieving such visions and on this point; I would like to congratulate the Government of Abu Dhabi and in particular His Highness Sheikh Mansour for hosting this important event.
For thousands of years, my family, my Kingdom and my country has been sustained through agriculture. It is a simple fact that 80% of all Ugandans grow their own food: bananas, corn, avocado, tropical fruits.
Furthermore, we raise cattle and harvest our trees. Like many parts of Africa, we are a nation blessed with ripe soil, perfect climate and strong, hardworking people.
Our nation, and our neighbors, can become the breadbasket of Africa. In fact, with 65% of the world’s remaining arable lands being in Africa, it is not an unrealistic dream that by 2050 we will be playing the leading role in feeding a global population of 9 billion.
However, this goal cannot and will not be met without the innovators from around the world. We call upon scientists, innovators, the private sector, investors and the international development community to re-focus their efforts on Africa. It is a partnership between great minds and great land that will see us prevail and succeed.
Toro Kingdom and Uganda in general, we have embarked on an aggressive program of agricultural development. These programs will be managed through the Kingdom of Toro and will seek to develop 100,000 acres of land for tree harvesting, will seek to increase our banana exports from 100,000 to 150,000 tones per year and we seek to find reliable partners to explore and develop our land. As a King, my most important responsibility is to develop the potential of my subjects and the land that we have been blessed with. At the same time, we acknowledge that we are part of an impressive but delicate ecosystem – we must share our land with the many creatures of the Plains of Africa: the lion, the elephant and the rhino.
I come here today with a message from His Excellency President Yoweri Musavani, the President of the Republic of Uganda – a farmer, a statesman and a good friend of the Kingdom of Toro. The President wishes to invite all of you to visit Uganda where you will experience the famous Ugandan hospitality and will be given every chance to develop deep and enduring partnerships. We can create frameworks to support your interests, we can create mutually beneficial public private partnerships and we can work together to develop sustainable agri-business in our country. To this end, I would personally like to speak with as many of you as possible during my visit here and I officially invite you to Tooro Kingdom.
I note with admiration the scope of talent in this room today. I challenge you all to make this event a success by fully participating, asking tough questions and setting goals and strategies that we can work on together. I look forward to seeing what can be accomplished here and encourage you all to foster change for a better world. To all my brothers from Africa, In order to achieve all the above, we need to have peace and Unity in our countries and communities!!!! I call upon all our distinguished leaders to work together towards ending wars and fostering development.
I thank you all.
His Majesty Dr. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV King of Tooro.