By Markson Omagor
The reappointment of Honorable Hellen Adoa as State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture- Fisheries has been met with joy by Serere District residents.
Speaking to this reporter, many interviewed residents in the district say God has answered their prayers by having Adoa retained as Minister.
Francis Odeke, a fisherman in Kagwara landing site said he will never forget Adoa after she helped him recover his motorcycle that had been confiscated by the Fisheries Protection Unit personnel.
“My motorcycle was impounded by soldiers who accused me of carrying premature fish, yet the fish I was transporting to the market were of size. It was the Minister who intervened and helped me recover the motorcycle,” a beaming Odeke said.
Meanwhile Agnes Atim of Kateta village who benefited from sheep donated to her through a village women’s group said God is rewarding Adoa for her good deeds.
“She has a heart of Gold, she helps the needy irrespective of their political inclination,” Atim said.
These sentiments were echoed by many who have directly benefited from the philanthropic deeds of Adoa who has been nicknamed ‘Ajele na I Sera” meaning the dove of Serere.
When this reporter relayed this information to Adoa, she only had kind words for the Serere people who overwhelmingly returned her to Parliament.
“I thank the people of Serere who overwhelmingly voted for me and gave me over 50,000 votes against my opponents who got 19,000, 4,000, 2500 and 600 respectively,” Adoa said.
Adoa who thanked President Museveni for having trust in her and retaining her, attributed her success to God and the people of Serere.
“Without their (Serere) votes, I would not be in Parliament and may be not a Minister as well,” Adoa added.
About her vision for the Fisheries docket that she has maintained, Adoa said that for the one and a half years she has been Minister, her and team have already changed the face of Fisheries.
Adoa revealed to this reporter that among the things she intends to do is to ensure that all fishing vessels operating in Uganda’s water bodies are registered.
She also intends to implement a ‘Lake Holidays’ policy where the water bodies are allowed time to restore the fish stocks for the benefit of the fishing communities and improve on fish exports.
Most importantly the Minister said they intend to lobby for a surgical thread factory to utilize the abundant fish maw available. Fish maw is used to produce surgical threads, spare parts for aero planes, fertility restoration, decorations especially in China and is rich in proteins.
Her target is also to have more modern Landing Sites constructed in order to improve on fish handling services such that the fish quality improves. This according to the Minister will improve on the export market for Ugandan fish.
Asked about the continued harassment of Ugandan fishermen by the neighbouring communities on Lake Albert and Victoria especially on the Kenyan border, Adoa said they are engaging the two countries’ leadership to ensure there is a harmonious co-existence of the fishermen.
“We are engaging our neighbors to stop the habit of beating up our fishermen in Lake Albert and Kenyan water border,” she said.
Adoa who is proud of having harmonized the relationship between the local fishing communities and the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) revealed that the communities have come to appreciate the role played by the Unit.
“At first the fishermen thought FPU was disorganizing them from their comfort zones, but now they call me for more deployment because they have tasted the fruits of mature fish with smiling pockets,” she added.
Finally the Minister reveals that together with her team, they are conducting surveys where a pilot scheme can be launched to modernize fish farming.