Agriculture is a core sector of Uganda’s economy. It contributed about 23% of GDP at current prices in 2011. Agricultural exports accounted for 48.5% of total exports in 2012. The sector provides the basis
for growth in other sectors such as manufacturing and services.
About 60 percent of Uganda’s population is engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Agriculture has grown at an average rate of 2.8% per year in the last 8 years. It presents immense opportunities for growth in other sectors like manufacturing especially agro-processing.
It is for these reasons that the sector has been given priority in the national development plan. The Agricultural sector is structured along the following lines:
i. Traditional Cash Crops:include coffee, cotton, tea, cocoa, tobacco,sugarcane
ii. Non-traditional Cash Crops:include; Maize, Rice, Beans, Soya Beans, palms, and Horticultural produce. The cash crops subsector accounted for 9% of agricultural value added products and grew by 16.2 % in FY2011/12.
iii. Livestock sub-sector:The Livestock Census (UBOS 2008) indicated that the national cattle herd is estimated at 11.4 million,12.5 million goats, 3.4 million sheep, 3.2 million pigs and 37.4 million poultry birds. The Census also showed that livestock numbers had increased across all animal types: cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and others. But livestock production levels could only meet half of the domestic and regional demand. Growth in the sector has been achieved as a result of a favourable macroeconomic environment, policy and institutional reforms including liberalisation of the sub-sector.
iv. Fishing: The fishing subsector accounted for 3.1 % of GDP at current prices in the 2011/12 financial year.. 20% of Uganda’s surface area is covered by water. The country has enormous potential for fresh water fisheries and aquaculture production. Uganda’s fisheries resources are diverse in aquatic ecosystems and in fish species bio-diversity.
Players in the Sector
The agricultural sector is fragmented and dominated by small farmers most of whom combine subsistence farming with cash crop and livestock farming. Most farmers own land individually except in parts of Northern Uganda where pastoralists land is owned communally. Farming is gradually becoming mechanised although the bulk of cultivation is still done by hand or cattle driven ox ploughs. Large / Commercial scale farming of cash crops is found in parts of the Central, South and South Western parts of Uganda. There are commercial plantations of tea, palms, rice, and sugarcane.Coffee and banana plantations tend to be smallalthough in some parts of the South West, there are some commercial scale banana plantations that supply produce to Kampala and other urban centres.
Livestock farming is on a small scale; by small farmers too, although of recent commercial ranches are gradually beginning to increase in parts of the South West.
Commercial fishing is still rare. Small scale fish mongers catch fish from Uganda’s lakes and rivers and sell it. Increasingly, fish processing plants are being set up to process and pack frozen fish for
export. There are investment opportunities involving developing commercial fishing fleets, processing plants and fish farms.
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF).
There are eight semi autonomous bodies which report to the Ministry for policy guidance. These are:
• National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO);
• National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) for delivery of advisory services;
• National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRC&DB) for animal genetic development;
• Coordinating Office for the Control of Trypanasomiasis in Uganda (COCTU) ;
• Diary Development Authority (DDA) for promotion of Dairy development;
• Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA)for promotion of coffee development;
• Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) forpromotion of cotton development;
• Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture Secretariat (PMA)
Demand Drivers and resource base factors
Demand for agricultural produce is driven by:• Local, Regional and Global population growth; Urbanisation; International demand for organic agriculturalcommodities; Changing dietary needs; Demand for bio fuels; Rise in per capita income; Demand for ethical products;Food purchases by humanitarian organisations like World Food Programme; Government policy to improve the sector.
Resource Base Factors
Uganda is endowed with: Fertile soils; All year round sunshine with moderate temperatures; Sufficient rainfall; Many lakes and rivers with sizeable stocks of aquatic life and Its surrounded by neighbouring countries that are not able to produce enough food to feed their populations.
Investment and Business Opportunities
Investment opportunities exist in Primary production, Value addition and Services in the agriculture sector.
• Commercial farming opportunities exist in traditional and non-traditional cash crops targeting local,regional and international markets; apiculture development; and sericulture development
• Commercial fish farming
• Poultry farming
• Animal husbandary farming
• Green house farming for seasonal commodities like vegetables fruits and flowers so they are available all year round.
Food Processing: Coffee roasting and grinding plants; grain processing; fish and beef canning;, tomato paste;, fruit juice extraction; Natural fibre processing; instant coffee processing. Butter and cheese production, yoghurt, milk curds, UHT milk; hides and skin processing; honey processing; bees wax; silk textiles; production of animal feeds, as well as fertilizers; making pasta out of maize; manufacture of cooking oil from nuts and maize; hatcheries.
• Storage facilities for grain, milk, coffee.
• Transport management and logistics.
• Setting up abattoirs in different parts of the country
• Commodity brokerage
• Agricultural Institutional financing
• Advisory services for both crops and animals
• Farm implements, inputs and machinery
• Veterinary and plant medicine