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‘East is Uganda’s food basket’ - Census

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th December 2010 03:00 AM

THE eastern region is leading in food production, agricultural statistics have shown. The Uganda Census of Agriculture, carried out between 2008 and 2009, revealed that the region tops in maize, rice, finger millet, cow pea, sweet potatoes and cassava production.

THE eastern region is leading in food production, agricultural statistics have shown. The Uganda Census of Agriculture, carried out between 2008 and 2009, revealed that the region tops in maize, rice, finger millet, cow pea, sweet potatoes and cassava production.

By Catherine Bekunda

THE eastern region is leading in food production, agricultural statistics have shown.

The Uganda Census of Agriculture, carried out between 2008 and 2009, revealed that the region tops in maize, rice, finger millet, cow pea, sweet potatoes and cassava production.

The region accounted for about 46.9% of the nation’s maize production.

It was followed by the west at 21.1% and the central region, which had 19% of the national production. Northern Uganda produced the least maize, at 12.9%.

The eastern region produced 38.8% of the country’s finger millet. It produced 66.3% of the country’s rice and 61.7% of the cow pea.

The region came second to the northern region in the production of soya beans, claiming 24.8% national production.

There were 28 districts at the time of the census, which included Amuria, Katakwi, Mbale, Sironko, Soroti, Manafwa and Iganga.

With a population estimated at 6.2 million of Uganda’s 33 million, the area covers the Bugisu, Teso and Busoga sub-regions.

Releasing the results of the census at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics yesterday, the acting executive director, Ben Paul Mungyereza, noted that the numbers would be helpful in improving the country’s agriculture sector.

“These figures will help in monitoring and evaluating government development programmes.”

The chairman board of directors, Dr. Zaake Muwange, noted that future progress in agriculture would be benchmarked on the statistics.
Uganda has carried out only three agricultural censuses, with the previous one done 20 years ago. The first one was in 1963/65.
State minister for agriculture Henry Bagiire said the information would enable the Government to make decisions on harvest handling and marketing, food security, land utilisation and the labour force.

“It will help us know the pressure on the land so that we can come up with better policies. Maybe we can compel people to merge their land so that they can share the produce,” he said.

Explaining why the eastern region is still ranked as the poorest in the country, Keith Muhakanizi, the deputy secretary to the treasury, said other regions could be excelling in production of other items such as livestock.

Statistics showed that the northern region topped in the production of simsim, and the western in the production of bananas.

The census also revealed that there were 3.95 million agricultural households, with the western region having the highest at 28.5%.

The total farm population of Uganda was estimated at 19.3 million, with 32.4% being in the eastern region.

The hoe remained the most used tool in agricultural production, followed by pangas, axes and slashers.

Only 31.1% of the people interviewed reported using improved seeds, and only 0.9% of farmers had access to irrigation services.

Statistics also showed that two million households experienced food shortage, with the highest percentage recorded during the months of May, June and July. Food is most available in December, January and February.

‘East is Uganda’s food basket’ - Census

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