Why Agriculture Is Key to National Prosperity

order sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>As a source of food and employment, sickness the sector is a source of livelihood for over 34 million Ugandans.

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The essential forward and backward linkages with Uganda’s budding manufacturing/value-addition and service sectors also imply that agriculture is a vital anchor of the country’s over-all economic prospects.

As a sector, agriculture continues to post relatively steady growth figures, for instance 3% in 2012.

Thus, government’s bid to transform Uganda from peasantry to an industrialised and prosperous society has a significant agricultural component.

For instance, agriculture is a stand-out source of foreign exchange for Uganda, accounting for an average of 53% of the inflows between 2007 and 2012.


Over this period, cotton production stood at 102,619 bales, generating $30.19m.

Regarding value-addition linkages, cotton contributed in-puts like seeds for manufacturing cooking oil and seed cake for animal feeds.

Elsewhere, production of tea increased from 59,400 to 60,000 metric tons (mt), of which 57,000 were exports valued at $102.6m.

There was also an increase in cocoa production from 17935mt to 19430mt, raising $46.6m.

Rice is the other product whose production rose from 230,000mt to 253,000mt between 2011 and 2013.

Further increase was also registered in maize production from 2,550,000mt to 3,150,000mt between 2011 and 2013.

Impressive production was also registered in production of beans, with a surge from 900,000mt to 1,200,000mt in the same period.

For beans alone, export earnings amounted for $21.4m over this period.

Government has also embraced an aggressive shift towards value addition to agricultural produce.

In 1986, only the government-owned Diary Corporation was processing milk in Uganda.

After opening up the sector to private investment, today, we have over 30 large, medium and small scale diary processing plants in Uganda.

These produce total of 1,103,830 litres of high quality milk per day.

In the Financial Year (FY) 2011/12 stood at 1.86 billion litres of which 70% was exported and 30% consumed at internally at household level.

This offers Uganda yet another source of foreign exchange while ensuring that we have a better fed healthier and more productive population.

For exported milk, the value is estimated at $12.1m annually.

Relatedly, beef-cattle rearing is also improving steadily.

As a result, for instance, the production of beef in Uganda rose from 185,280 mt to 191,280mt between 2011 and 2012.

Meanwhile, the number of goats is estimated by the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries to be growing at about 35% annually.

The ministry supports a special breeding program for goats in Sembabule district, where 6,326 ‘elite’ goats were purchased and distributed to 126 farmers.

This has caused an evident improvement in quality of goats in the area and solid learning points for government in its bid towards replicating the program elsewhere in Uganda.

Poultry has followed suit -production is estimated to be 50.4 million units annually, most of which is chicken.

To add value and guarantee quality, poultry dressing/packing centres have been established.

Breeding centres have also been promoted, with a combined capacity of 30,000 chicks a day.

Besides a rapidly growing domestic market, lucrative export markets are available mainly in DR. Congo and South Sudan.

The growth in pork production has also been impressive over time.

Just between 2011 and 2012 for instance, production rose from 20,259mt to 20,867.

And government continues to streamline the fisheries with good returns too.

In the FY 2012/13 national fish production was 40,7639mt having risen from 18,320mt in the previous FY.

The value stood at $108.614m.

A growing domestic market and run-away demand in the region points towards a bright outlook in terms of agricultural returns.

Beyond Africa, our agricultural products, especially the organic ones remain in high demand.

With alternative capital options like the Youth Livelihoods Program, agriculture offers a real escape route from poverty, particularly for our young people.

Government encourages Ugandans to step-up investment in agriculture.

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