Uganda has registered a 6 percent increase in coffee exports over the last one year, hitting the 4.5 percent mark.
“Coffee export volumes in 2018 increased by 6 percent to 4.5 million bags valued at US$ 492 million compared to 4.2 million valued at US$ 490 million exported in 2017,” said Finance Minister Matia Kasaija while delivering the 2019/2020 budget speech.
In 2015, government committed to export 20 million bags of coffee by 2020.
Kasaija’s figures show government needs to do more to hit it ambitious target by 2020.
Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in Uganda playing a major role in the livelihoods of many poor people and is a major foreign exchange earner in Uganda.
Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the government agency responsible for the sector, estimates that about 500,000 households depend on coffee production
Annual production on average is made up of 15 percent Arabica and 85 percent Robusta.
Kasaija said he was allocating Shs 1,054.6 Billon to the Agriculture Sector next financial year.
He said this would “enhance agricultural research and development in new crop varieties for national strategic commodities including coffee, maize, beans, cassava, rice, cotton, oilseed and cocoa.”
Meanwhile, oil palm production in Kalangala in 2018 increased by 55 percent to 37,800 Tons valued at Shs. 21.4 billion compared to the 2016 production of 24,300 Tons valued at Shs. 13.4 Billion.
Milk production in 2018 increased by 19 percent from 2.1 billion litres in 2015 to 2.5 billion litres in 2018. The volume of fish exports has also increased by 27 percent.
Kasaija said the support to fisheries enforcement interventions by the UPDF has led to the opening of 4 fish factories – Gomba in Jinja, Iftra in Kampala, Marine and Agro in Jinja and Ngege in Kampala.
The established production capacity of all these factories is 330 tons per day.
Kasaija said this was as a result of distribution of key planting, breeding and stocking materials in Kigezi, Ankole, Rwenzori, Mubende, West Nile and Bunyoro sub zones.
He said breeding and genetic development continued with the multiplication of beef and dairy cattle, goats, pigs and poultry while construction of four medium sized irrigation schemes have been completed at Agoro in Lamwo, Doho I in Butaleja, Mubuku I in Kasese and Olweny in Lira district.
Kasaija further revealed that 280 tractors were distributed to farmers to further boost mechanization.
The Agriculture Credit Facility cumulatively disbursed Shs. 332 billion by 31st March, 2019, to finance 551 eligible projects.
“This enabled borrowers to establish large capacity agro-processing facilities, expand grain trade and investment in warehousing and expanding farm infrastructure,” said Kasaija.
The Agriculture sector maintained its recovery sustaining a 3.8% growth rate in financial year 2018/19.
Because the majority of Ugandans are part of rural households, achieving inclusive growth requires that Uganda uses modern farming practices, advanced agricultural inputs and technology, post-harvest storage, and improve product market access.
This would positively change the livelihoods of over 68% of Uganda’s households who are currently engaged in subsistence agriculture.
Kasaija said commercializing agriculture has the greatest potential for increasing household productivity and incomes, while addressing unemployment in the rural communities.
“The use of Product Value Chains based on the National Agricultural Zoning Strategy will also facilitate agricultural commercialization. Successful agro-processors will be engaged to serve as a nucleus linked to farmers who sell their produce to the processor,” he said.
“In addition, Product Value Chains permit inputs such as extension services and finance to be delivered. This approach will lead to an increase in sustainable production at the farmer household level, while increasing productivity and incomes. In addition, the approach will nurture agro-based industries across the country, employing labour that will have been released from primary agriculture.”