Agriculture is among the four key sectors highlighted in the Uganda Vision 2040 that will greatly contribute to wealth and employment creation.
It also remains the biggest backbone of Uganda’s economic growth with Agriculture-based products accounting for about 45% of exports in 2018/19.
The Agriculture sector contributed 22% of the GDP and registered improved growth rates from 2.8% in FY 2015/16 to 5% in FY 2018/19.
It also employs about 64% of all Ugandans (and about 72% of all youths) highlighting its importance to household income growth and consumption, and thereby stimulating growth in the other sectors.
Government in its five-year Manifesto from 2016 to 2020 pledged to transform the sector from subsistence to commercial setting but also achieve a sustainable 6% annual growth in the sector.
Between FY 2015/16 and FY 2018/19, the sector contribution to national GDP averaged 23.7%.
In the same period, the sector annual growth rate rose from 2.8% to 5%. The country is therefore on the right course towards archiving the targeted 6% annual growth rate in the Maputo/Malabo declaration undertaking.
The value of agriculture exports increased from USD 1.326 billion to USD 1.5 billion representing a growth of 20% in the past four financial years. Some of the major agricultural exports include coffee, tea, maize, cereals, fisheries, fruits among others.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal productions says it has been focused on commodity value chains, research extension, pest, vector and disease control, provision of inputs, promoting sustainable land use and soil management, post-harvest handling, improving market access and infrastructure and value addition.
In addition, the NRM government has devised a number of interventions in the Agriculture sector that have led to increased employment, increased household incomes, food security and exports.
Crop production enhancement
Government of Uganda prioritized Maize due to its high potential for food security and contribution to national export earnings. Through the NAADS/Operation wealth creation programme, the Ministry distributed a total of 19,562,506 kgs of maize seed to both small holders and commercial farmers in 120 district local governments in the last four years.
Due to this intervention, the production of maize has increased by 33% from 2.6 million MT in 2016 to 3.6 million MT in 2019. The volume of maize exports has also increased by 6% from 263,114 MT in 2016 to 278,693 MT in 2019 while the value of exports has increased by 12% from USD 84.99 million in 2016 to USD 95.48 million in 2019.
Coffee is the principal export for Uganda. In line with the Presidential Directive made in December 2015 for the coffee sector to raise
production from 4 million 60 kg bags to 20 million 60 kg bags, the Ministry embarked on a process to actualize this directive in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU).
In the Financial Year 2015/16, coffee production stood at 4.46 million (60 kg) bags and the volume of coffee exports was 3.56 million (60 kg) bags valued at USD 351 million.
During the past four financial years, government through UCDA has distributed 582,995,184 coffee seedlings to coffee farming households across the five regions of the country. These efforts have increased coffee production by 56% from 4.46 million (60kg) bags in FY 2015/16 to 6.950 million (60 kg) bags in FY 2018/19. The volume of coffee exported also increased by 17% from 3.56 (60 kg) bags in FY 2015/16 to 4.17 million (60 kg) bags in FY 2018/19.
Beans remain another important food crop, grown by households all over the country with high potential for increasing household incomes.
Over the last four years, the Ministry has distributed a total of 7,086,504 kgs of bean seed to smallholder farmers in all district local governments that prioritized beans in the past four years.
The production of beans has however decreased over the past four years, from 1 million MT in 2016 to 0.627 million MT in 2019. Beans export volumes have also decreased by 6%, from 113,977 MT in 2016 to 107,678 MT in 2019 while the value has of exports has reduced from USD 65.85 million in 2016 to USD 61.97 million in 2019.
Cassava has been identified as one of the most important crops in the recent years, and our research shows that we can produce various products including flour, animal feed, alcohol, starches for sizing paper and textiles among others. The Ministry has therefore strategically developed programs to promote research into high yielding and climate resilient varieties which are now being disseminated in the areas with the best production potential.
The Ministry through the NAADS/OWC programme provided support to both small holders and commercial cassava farmers in more than 60 district local governments that prioritized cassava. A total of 793,223 bags of cassava cuttings were distributed. These interventions have led to a 131% increase in cassava production from 3 million MT in FY 2015/16, to 7 million MT in FY 2018/19.
The sector targets to produce 112,000 MT of tea by 2020, with exports valued at approximately US$155 million.
During the past four financial years, the ministry through NAADS/OWC has distributed 410,737,788 tea seedlings in 21 tea growing districts and there is marked increase in leaf production. These efforts have increased tea production by 19% from 67,000MT in the FY 2015/16 to 79,466 MT in FY 2018/19. In addition, the volume of exports increased by 34% from 54,898 MT worth USD 74.5 million in FY 2015/16 to 73,580 MT worth USD. 89 million.
Reports indicate over production of leaf in some districts over the existing tea processing capacities, as is the case of Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kanungu and Buhweju.
The sector interventions together with the farmers’ own initiatives has stimulated establishment of more tea factories from 27 to 33 factories including 2 new ones established in Kabale and Kisoro with the support from the Ministry. Additionally, 15 new tea factories are being established and are at different levels in several districts including; Kyenjojo, Buhweju, Kanungu, Bushenyi, Rukiga, Kisoro , Ntungamo, Kamwenge, Mbarara and Luwero
6. Fruits (Citrus, Mangoes, Pineapples, Apples)
In the last four financial years, support towards production of fruits focused on provision of seedlings tolerant to pests and diseases and with desirable fresh and processing characteristics, improvement in post-harvest handling and establishment of processing facilities for citrus, mangoes, apples and pineapples in 10 district local governments.
A total of 41,426,303 citrus seedlings; 28,706,281 mango seedlings; 2,439,155 apple seedlings and 36,446,670 pineapple suckers were distributed.
The various Government interventions over the last 10 years have already resulted into a 20% increase in export volumes of fruits and vegetables from 57,358 MT in 2015 to 68,862 MT