Agriculture being the backbone and core sector of Uganda’s economy, the country’s favorable soil conditions and climate have contributed to the agricultural success. Most areas of Uganda have usually received plenty of rainfall. In some years, small areas of the southeast and southwest have averaged more than 150 millimeters per month. In the north, there is often a short dry season in December and January. Temperatures change only a few degrees above or below 20 °C but are moderated by differences in altitude.
Uganda’s main food crops have been plantations, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, beans, and groundnuts. Major cash crops have been coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco, although in the 1980s many farmers sold food crops to meet short-term expenses. The production of cotton, tea, and tobacco virtually collapsed during the late 1970s and early 1980s. By late 1980s the government attempted to encourage diversification in commercial agriculture that would lead to a variety of nontraditional exports.
This sector is the key determinant in the country’s efforts to reduce poverty, and attain economic growth in the immediate years. Cereals are the dominant crop type with maize, finger millet, and grain sorghum being the top 3 cereal crops. In terms of production volumes, rice, maize, and potatoes have been the crops recording the highest growth, mainly because of area expansion. Growth in crop production has dwindled lately, as compared to late 2000s, but is expected to record a higher CAGR than that of late 2000s, during the period 2017-2021.
Limited production due to major productivity constraints, owing to the unavailability of good quality seeds and proper irrigation, and lack of linkages between formal and informal seed sector contribute to restraining the growth of the agriculture sector in Uganda.
These conditions have allowed continuous cultivation in the south but only annual cropping in the north, and the driest northeastern corner of the country has supported only the rearing of cattle. Although population growth has created pressures for land in a few areas, land shortages have been rare.
The export sector of Uganda is poorly funded, involving small and under-capitalized companies that cannot support farmers. Moreover, exports are majorly limited to some European countries, and nearby African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. Maize, beans, pulses, fruits, oilseeds, and coffee are the predominant export crops. Coffee exports have been increasing steadily, and with the increased focus on Arabica coffee, which is gaining popularity quickly, the exports are poised to grow further. The imports are not substantial; wheat and rice are imported mainly to cater to the urban population.
Rapidly increasing population growth in East Africa – Uganda is the 3rd fastest growing country in the world in terms of population. Although Uganda’s food production may just suffice the needs of its domestic population, it may not be able to cater to the nearby East African nations facing food shortage, owing to the rapid population growth and lower production.
Uganda’s existing economic comparative advantage is heavily concentrated in the agricultural sector. Uganda is endowed with good climatic conditions that are conducive for up to three planting seasons unequaled in elsewhere.
Although traditionally, cotton, tea and coffee had been the main cash crops, there has been marked shift in the kind of crops that are grown. These now include, vanilla, pineapples, aloe vera, sim sim, sugar cane, rice and citrus fruits.
The Moringa Plant
Uganda farmers have embraced the “wonder” tree. The officials from the Ministry of Health have endorsed the preventative attributes of Moringa tree. Moringa true has been used as an inter-cropping tree in farms and it has perfomed well. Most farmers now are anxious for market s for moringa products. (More…)
Uganda’s vanilla continues to gain on the world market due to its high content value and flavour. Farmers are encouraged to grow more vanilla. Vanilla growing has now picked up in many disctrits of Uganda and the Ministry of Agriculture has now put lots of emphasis on quality and volume. (More…)
Heifer Cross Breeds
Prolifiration of improved cattle breeds is one of the cardinal points of the Government’s Plan for Modernising Agriculture in Uganda. Although in most parts of Uganda, many farmers keep indegenous breeds, the Government has increased its efforts in encouraging many local farmers into rearing exotic breeds. (More…)