Anno Galema, the First Secretary of Food Security and Private Sector at the Dutch Embassy has advised the Ugandan government to prioritize Agriculture if the country is to increase its Agricultural contribution to the GDP.
The advice comes amidst worries of the continuous decline in the contribution of Agricultural sector to the Country’s GDP.
Agriculture has over the decades been known to be the backbone of Uganda’s Economy.
The sector currently employs over 70% of the country’s population, but a large percentage of those employed in the sector are subsistent.
This has left less going into the revenue bag in form of taxes from the country’s backbone sector.
Agriculture’s contribution to GDP has consistently dropped, now to 21% in the financial year 2017/2018 according to the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics.
This decline has to a large extent been attributed to a number of factors including climate change and government’s less efforts recently, towards commercialisation of the Sector.
“If Uganda is to increase Agriculture’s contribution to the GDP, it should prioritise on commercialising the Agriculture sector,” said Mr. Anno Galema, who was speaking at a diverse and inspiring programme to celebrate Wageningen University’s ‘100th Dies Natalias’.
The diverse and inspiring programme which was held at Makerere University’s main building on Saturday was sponsored by House of Seeds.
Speaking from an informed angle, Galema added: “Netherlands has always been an agricultural country. The country knew that to develop Agriculture, we had to start with developing our technology and research.
“So we started early with Wagnen university which has built and pushed agriculture in the country.”
The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products, after the USA.
The small country, supplies a quarter of the vegetables that are exported from Europe.
Galama commented that the Dutch agricultural sector is very diverse, something that Uganda should borrow a leaf from.
And with Wageningen University, the Dutch have the number one Agricultural University in the world for the third year in a row according to The National Taiwan Ranking of over 300 universities on scientific and research excellence.
During the presentations made at the event from various Agricultural experts it was also agreed that in order to promote Agricultural commercialisation, the government should look for ways on how to help and support smallholder farmers to modernise their operations in order to grow viable business enterprises that can generate enough income to sustain the needs of their households, Linking farmers to the market, among others.
Other speakers (some represented) on the day included Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (the Deputy principal college of Agricultural and Environmental sciences at Makerere), Okaasai Opolot (the director crop resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries), Prof. Paul Kibwika and many others.