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Promoting structural transformation of African agriculture

By Umar Nsubuga

Added 13th February 2017 09:26 AM

The farmers are not adapting to the intensive farming and therefore their yields are not improving which means for the past years, the yields have been stagnant.

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Manuel Paradis, STAARS coordinator for PEP, Prof. Jane Mariara ED PEP and Dr. Bthuel Kinyanjui from school of economics Kenya Photo by Umar Nsubuga

The farmers are not adapting to the intensive farming and therefore their yields are not improving which means for the past years, the yields have been stagnant.

The half-day meeting under the theme Structural Transformation of African Agricultural and Rural Spaces was on Thursday at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

The workshop focused on the Agricultural productivity, technology adaptation and welfare in Uganda. Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) among the organisers carried out research in different parts of Uganda mainly western Uganda. According to the research program it is still low compared to the expectation.

The Economic Policy Research Centre in collaboration with the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP)  organised a national policy conference and the main focus was to share and discuss findings and policy implications from three research studies conducted under the Structural Transformation of African Agriculture and Rural Spaces (STAARS) Initiative.

During the workshop Dr. Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia from university of Nairobi, school of economic Kenya said agriculture is the dominant economic activity in the sub-Saharan countries "accounting for more than 60% of the total labour force with more than 75% of the poor in these regions that depend on agriculture."

He said agriculture in Uganda needs to intensify and accelerate productivity however the intensification which requires initial capital may be difficult for poor farmers to attain which are the majority whereas the rich farmers have access to all these and have large farms and use technology to improve productivity resulting to increased rural inequality. 

Poverty and inequality remain major challenges in sub-Saharan Africa.

Manuel Paradis the STAARS coordinator for PEP said nearly 70% of the East African population and about 90% of the poor population relies heavily on agricultural production and agricultural reforms have been implemented in the countries to ensure high, sustainable economic growth and food security but unfortunately the growth of the sector has remained insufficient to address the poverty, achieve food security and lead to sustained economic growth.

He said technology adoption has been touted as the key to improve productivity and address poverty and food insecurity and East Africa has low adoption rates of agricultural technology and the smallholder farmers remain poor and largely concentrated in rural areas.

"Low adoption rates might seem irrational when looking at promised yields and this is because of the various constraints farmers face such as low levels of education and lack of credit", he explained.

Prof. Julius Kiiza a political Economist at Makerere University was among the participants and said the farmers who have adopted the planting of seed varieties get more yields compared to those that have not adopted.


He said the farmers are slow to adopt the new technology and this is because they are not aware of the benefits, funders have to know that we don't plant in the air we use land, the technologies not being available at the time they are needed and not being profitable due to the land and labour allocation.

He also said faster adaptation may be achieved through providing better information to the farmers regarding the possibilities the new technology.

Dr. Francis Mwesigye who works with (EPRC) said Uganda carries out extensive farming where they encroach on the wetlands and cut down forests to carry out agriculture which is a hazard to the environment.

The farmers are not adapting to the intensive farming and therefore their yields are not improving which means for the past years, the yields have been stagnant."

He also adds that the reasons for the stagnancy in yields in agriculture produce in Uganda is due to the presence of counterfeit fertilizers and pesticides on the market, there is a seed gap between the quality demanded and the quality supplied, limited access to inputs and also limited access to finance.

 

 

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