The facilitation provided by USAID through Feed the Future Uganda Enabling Environment for Agriculture is highly appreciated and will have a significant contribution to the government’s target of 20 million 60kg-bags by 2025
Uganda has seen increased interest in investment of the grain sector, both in new investments of warehouses and value addition facilities, as well as the expansion of existing facilities.
The total investment in the last three years stands at over sh112.86b (in warehouse construction, refurbishment to meet certification needs, Grading Equipment and Capacity Building).
Speaking at the launch of the Aquaculture Training Manual and Guide in Kampala on Thursday, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries, Vincent Ssempijja Bamulangaki said the demand for coffee increase by 3% every year, which creates insatiable demand for the product due to low production.
He said the National Coffee Research and Development Agenda (NCRDA) aims to effectively contribute to the national target of attainment of production of 20 million bags by 2025, a big boost towards attaining the middle income status.
However, it is estimated that over the next five years, sh121,197,305 will be required to operationalize NCRDA. "This indicative budget is subject to appropriate prioritisation and revisions over time," he added.
According to Ssempijja, the Government has also increased its support to the grain sector through MAAIF and Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) by providing the quality seeds, training farmers and other inputs.
He said production of grain increased from 3.5Million MT in 2012 to 5.6Million MT in 2018, and 4.5MT in 2019/20, given that there was a challenge of armyworm infestation, drought and decline in prices, which has resulted into decline in 2019.
The World Food Programme (WFP) elevated Uganda as her International Grain Hub and increased their grain purchases from 102,000 metric tonnes ($41,979,630) in 2017, to 198,000 metric tonnes ($54,206,656) in 2018. This, according to Ssempijja has benefited Ugandan farmers through increased incomes arising out of premium prices WFP offers on supply contracts.
Ssempijja applauded the US, through USAID, for the support through the Feed the Future Uganda enabling environment for agriculture activity, the Ministry, UNBS, the private sector and the farmers for the cooperation that was provided for the successful implementation of the project.
According to Ssempijja, the US Government supported the ministry in the development of the National Agricultural Extension Policy and its implementation strategy to address past shortcomings in agricultural extension service delivery and cause sustained progression of smallholder farmers from subsistence agriculture to market-oriented. It also supported commercial farming. The development of the National Food and Agricultural Statistics System (NFASS), the purchase of IT equipment and furniture worth $100,000 to outfit the national agricultural statistics data center, among others.
USAID Deputy Mission Director Rick Somarriba said, "Like physical infrastructure, an enabling environment is an essential element of a competitive and vibrant economy. It gives farmers, traders, and business people the confidence to plan, invest, innovate, and create economic opportunities for themselves and for the communities in which they live and work."
However, according to Beatrice Byarugaba, the Director Extension Service Ministry of Agriculture, there is a need to work on unifying national data in the agriculture sector. "Many times our data managers like UNBS, UBOS, and Bank of Uganda give differing information on economic issues.
According to the Executive Director, Food Rights Alliance, Agnes Kirabo, implementation of the National Organic Food Policy and Section 18 of the Agriculture Chemicals (Control) Act 2007 to regulate the use, transport, storage advertisement and disposal of pesticides is key in ensuring food safety in Uganda.
Kirabo said despite previous efforts to understand the dangers of glyphosate, aflatoxins, and other harmful agrochemicals use and trade e.g. through experts' meetings and dialogues, the Government of Uganda has, among other issues, failed to ban the use of glyphosate and Glyphosate Based Herbicides (GBHs), which threaten and are a violation of the right to life, health, right to adequate food and to a clean and health environment guaranteed under Objectives XX, XXII, Articles 20, 45, 8A and 33 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
USAID's Rick Somarriba said the Agency developed and distributed awareness materials to combat aflatoxin contamination. "Major buyers such as the World Food Programme have reported improved quality and have increased their purchases of grain from farmers and two million Ugandan farmers and traders have increased their sales by over $400 million", he added.
According to Ssempijja, The facilitation provided by USAID through Feed the Future Uganda Enabling Environment for Agriculture is highly appreciated and will have a significant contribution to the government's target of 20 million 60kg-bags by 2025 and is consequently a big boost towards attaining the middle-income status.