NRM MANIFESTO REVIEW: How Agriculture Sector has Boosted Uganda’s Economy in 2 Years

The Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Frank Tumwebaze handing over tractors to farmers in Bunyangabu district
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Over the years, the Uganda’s agriculture sector has renewed the mandate to make steady progress in taking Uganda to modernity through job creation, agriculture being the backbone of the economy, employing 70% of the population, and contributing half of Uganda’s export earnings and a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In this edition, we analyze the two- year Journey of the agriculture sector and how it transformed the country within the guidance of the Vision of “A Competitive, Profitable and Sustainable Agricultural Sector” and Mission “To Transform Subsistence Farming into Commercial Agriculture.”
Coffee: Coffee Production increased from 8.06 million 60kg bags in FY2020/21 to 8.45 million 60kg bags in FY 2021/22. Coffee exports have also increased from 6.08 million 60kg bags valued at USD 554.89 million in FY2020/21to 6.26 million 60kg bags valued at USD 862.22 million in FY 2021/22.
This milestone was as a result of key Government interventions such as farmer training, distribution of high value seedlings to farmers and promotion of new resistant high yield coffee varieties.
Government through UCDA distributed 101,872,271 coffee seedlings to farmers; trained 2,313 value chain actors in good harvesting and post harvest handling practices that included only picking red ripe coffee and stumped 16,857,218 old and unproductive coffee trees in the different regions. These were motivated through distribution of 573,268 bags of organic fertilizers.
NARO developed and promoted new resistant varieties for coffee with a yield potential of up to 3.9 tons per hectare.

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Maize: The Government through NAADS has distributed 7,136,000 kgs of maize seed under the Food Security Initiative to 891,568 households including youths, women, older persons, PWDs and other vulnerable groups to establish 713,600 acres across the country.
This has resulted in an increase in production of maize from 3.5Million MT in FY2020/21 to 4.7 million MT in FY2021/22.
At the end of the FY 2021/22, NAADS established 5 grain stores of 300MT capacity each in Kasese (2), Kyegegwa (1), Kitagwenda (2) under AGRILED program for the Rwenzori sub region.
Tea: Government through NAADS has distributed 199,785,979 tea seedlings to districts of Zombo, Buhweju, Rubanda, Kisoro, Mitooma, Kanungu, Rukungiri, Ntungamo, Sheema, Rukiga and Bushenyi. These efforts have increased tea production from 67,000MT in the FY 2015/16 to 84,185 MT in FY 2021/22.
These interventions have resulted in a 39% increase in the volume of exports from 54,898 MT (worth USD 74.5 million) in FY 2015/16 to 76,532 MT (worth USD 85.50 million) in FY 2021/22.
Cassava:Government through NAADS has distributed 612,552 bags of cassava cuttings to 8 DLGs in Acholi sub region and 5 District Local Governments in Lango sub region as part of the Cassava commercialization project with Gulu Archdiocese.
Fruits (Citrus, Mangoes, Pineapples and apples): Government has distributed 2,966,418 citrus seedlings to 9,677 households to establish 9,677 acres; 3,638,271 mango seedlings to 15,620 households to establish 15,620 acres; 269,123 apple seedlings to 506 households to establish 506 acres and 7,926,666 pineapple suckers to 700 households to establish 700 acres.
Government completed construction and equipping of the main factory building for the 5MT/hr Yumbe mango processing plant, installation of additional 0.5MT/hr pineapple processing facility for Kayunga factory and installation of 2 MT/hr multi-fruit processing facility for Kapeeka.
Government is also planning to construct a 12 MT/Hour Nwoya multifruit processing factory. The facilities will largely contribute to reduction of post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables by almost double from the current 35%.
These interventions have already resulted in an increase in export earnings from USD 43.80 million in FY 2020/21 to USD 47.05 million in FY 2021/22.
Livestock: Government has distributed, 3,256 calf heifers, 3,771,924 fingerlings (1,820,000 fingerlings of tilapia, 1,896,924 fingerlings of catfish, 55,000 fingerlings of mirror cap), 101,387 kgs of fish feed,24,121 pigs, 97,000 layers chicks, 30,000 kuroilers and 91,600 broilers among others to further improve the livelihood of the 68% and also support their migration into the Money economy.
Through NAGRIC, the Government has established poultry hatcheries in Busoga and Buganda with incubators that together have a capacity to hatch at least 9,600,000 eggs every year. Over 2.5 million chicks have been produced and availed to farmers with the main objective of promoting poultry enterprise countrywide.
Government through the National Animal Genetic Resources and Data Bank produced a total of 135,584 doses of semen at the National Bull stud and genetic evaluation center and availed to actors along the Artificial Reproductive Technology value chain to boost community breeding activities countrywide. A total of 103,619 litres of liquid nitrogen were produced and availed for use at Entebbe, Mbarara and Buikwe liquid nitrogen plants to enhance community-based breeding initiatives, synchronization protocols with better conception rates and increased availability of Liquid Nitrogen which boosted the use of Artificial Insemination.
NARO has established a livestock IVF platform to enable production of cost-effective and quality bovine embryos and boost availability of elite livestock seed. The platform, the first of its kind in Uganda, has a capacity to produce 200,000 embryos annually, at a cost of USD 100 per embryo as compared to the imported embryos that costs 300 dollars per embryo.
NAADS Procured two (2) mini dairy processing plants of 250L/batch/hour each for beneficiaries in Isingiro and Sembabule. Contracts signed in June 2022 and delivery to be completed during FY 2022/23.
NAADS completed civil works for construction of slabs and ancillary structures for 12 containerized milk coolers for Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, & Kabarole.
In an attempt to improve the quality of the livestock breeds across the country, Government through NAGRIC &DB distributed 1,215 Artificial Insemination kits in Bukedi, Lango, Busoga, Acholi, Karamoja, Teso, Buganda, Kigezi, and Toro subregions.
Government through NAGRIC&DB established and operationalized a 5MT/hr feed mill in Busoga sub region to process livestock feeds (poultry layer mash, chick and duck mash, pig feeds, bull breeding mash).
Due to the above interventions, the production of milk increased by 92% from 2.81 billion litres in FY 2020/21 to 5.4 billion litres in FY 2021/22 despite the reported drought in selected milk sheds in the country.
In the same period, the export value of milk and milk products increased from USD 98.8 million in 2021 to USD 103 million in 2022. This is attributed to the intensified enforcement and compliance by the private sector to quality standards and regulations.
Licensed milk collection centers have also increased from 475 with a total installed capacity of 2.21 million litres in 2020/21 to 547 with a total estimated capacity of 2.3 million litres in 2021/22 to match rising milk production.
The production of beef increased from 228,243MT in the FY2020/21 to 230,746MT in the FY2021/22. In the calendar year 2022, the amount of beef exported was 247,234 kg valued at UGX 2.944 billion as compared to UGX 1.018 billion fetched in the year 2021.
Sugarcane: Government committed to increase sugarcane production through establishing a National Sugar Research Centre to improve sugarcane varieties for higher yields. In accordance with the Sugar Act 2020, NARO has started the process of establishing the National Sugar Research Centre. A draft cabinet Memo has been developed and is under consultations.
Rice: Government completed construction of a 3-acre mini-irrigation scheme at Namulonge to support rice research specifically to boost the production of breeder and foundation seed, and a 5-acre seed certification mini-irrigation scheme at Namalere to support seed certification of other enterprises.
Government also released 4 short maturing, drought tolerant, high yielding (4.8-7t/ha) and disease resistant varieties of rice. This is to ensure access and availability of good quality rice seed by farmers.
Government supported 49 farmer organizations (Acholi (26), East Central (10), Teso (8), Elgon (3) and Lango (2)) with rice mills to support them in value addition and the Government is in the process of procuring 5 sets of rice mills.
Cotton :Government through CDO has distributed 2,449 MT of cotton planting seed, 773,573 units of pesticides, 2,049 spray pumps and of 334 MT fertilizers (fertilizers were mainly for Prison Farms) to cotton farmers in Busoga, Bukedi, Bugisu, Teso, Lango, Acholi, West Nile, Mid-West & Central and Rwenzori Regions.
Government distributed a total of 9,384 bales of lint to two local textile manufacturers; Fine Spinners (U) Ltd (located in Bugolobi, Kampala) and Southern Range Nyanza (NYTIL) located in Njeru. The two factories employ about 4,100 people and produce yarn, finished fabrics, T-shirts, garments, uniforms, bedsheets, curtain materials, etc for both domestic and export markets.
A total of 115,975 bales of cotton were produced in 2022/23; contributing about Sh. 102 billion to cotton farmers’ incomes and US$ 37 million from lint sales.
Macadamia & Hass Avocado: With effect from FY 2022/23, NAADS started implementation of an intervention to promote and scale up the production of emerging high value strategic commodities such as; Macadamia & Hass Avocado.
NAADS has established partnerships with six (6) Hass Avocado and three (3) Macadamia nucleus farmers respectively to scale up production of the enterprises.
Accordingly, the following achievements have been realized:159,214 Macadamia seedlings were distributed to establish 1,592 acres for farmer out growers/associations in 53 DLGs under the NAADS Nucleus farmer partnership strategy for promotion and scaling up Macadamia.
444,825 Hass Avocado seedlings were delivered and distributed to establish 2,780 acres for farmer out growers/associations in 90 DLGs under the NAADS-Nucleus farmer partnership strategy for promotion and scaling up Hass Avocado.
Horticulture: Government partnered with the private sector dealing in horticulture through their umbrella organization (Hortifresh). The Main objective of this partnership is to support the private sector self-regulate and also create awareness amongst the producers and exporters of horticulture on both the agronomic and post-harvest handling practices. This has resulted in a reduction in Uganda’s agriculture products consignments resulting in rejections due to prohibited organisms, and failed to comply with maximum pesticide residue levels by 90%.
Acceleration of disease control measures in the livestock sector to meet international standards. A total of 6,650,000 animal disease vaccines were acquired and distributed to farmers. These included 2.65M doses of FMD and 2,000,000 doses of LSD Vaccine, 2,000,000 doses of PPR.
NARO is undertaking research on anti-tick vaccine development and Efficacy evaluation trials have started in Kiburara prisons farms, Isimba prisons farms, Maruzi, Nabuin and Mbarara and this will be completed by the end of July 2023.
NARO is in advanced stages of establishing a local animal vaccine manufacturing infrastructure at Nakyesasa in Wakiso District to produce vaccines for ticks, foot and mouth disease. The facility has a capacity to produce over 50,000,000 doses of anti-tick vaccine. The quantities are sufficient to cover the demand of both the country and region in control of tick resistance. Once the facility is completed, it will enhance foreign exchange earnings for the country due to sale of vaccines in the region and save the country USD. 1.1bn which the country loses annually due to ticks and tick borne diseases. It will further help the country tap into the UGX. 3trillion Regional Market for Meat and Milk.
NARO is also setting up an aflaSafe facility at Namulonge to help in management of aflatoxin in cereals which has become a threat to food safety and trade in the region. The facility will have a production line with capacity to produce 5tons of aflasafe per hour). Once this facility is functional, Uganda will save an estimated US$38 million lost annually in export opportunities due to aflatoxin. This will also greatly impact on the economy in terms of prevention of diseases in human beings (mainly cancer) and increasing the production of quality milk and eggs.
Construction of Zonal Animal Disease Control centre in Got Apwoyo -Nwoya district is at 95% level of completion and initiated the procurement process for the Zonal Animal disease control centre in Kiruhura district.
Increased access to agricultural finance and insurance services: Data compiled from the reports on the Performance of the Economy by Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MFPED) shows that, the funding in terms of new loans to the agricultural value chain (production, marketing and processing) increased from UGX 1,127 billion in the FY 2020/21 to UGX 1,454 billion in the FY 2021/22.
Agricultural financing registered the second highest increase of 29% followed by the Building, Mortgage, Construction and Real Estate sector at 22%. The share of agricultural financing to total financing increased from 11.3% in the FY 2020/21 to 13.1% in the FY 2021/22.
Build a quality assurance system from the farm through the entire value chain: The Government has developed a quality assurance system (traceability system) for exports of horticulture, fresh fruit and vegetables and coffee.
Government recognises the need to address some of the challenges in agriculture inputs and produce supply chains. Government is therefore constructing an internationally accredited National Metrology Laboratory at Uganda National Bureau of Standards (at 95% level of completion). The laboratory will calibrate equipment used in the National Food Safety Laboratory and other agro-food processing laboratories and industries (such as lactometers, moisture meters, thermometers, hygrometers) to ensure accurate measurement and reliable testing results.
Government rehabilitated the National Dairy Laboratory, and maintained three dairy laboratories in Gulu, Mbarara and Soroti to increase the quality of Milk and Milk products for both the domestic and international markets
Government has intensified the inspection and regulation function through registration, certification of farmers who produce specifically for export; and training of key export value chain actors including; inspectors, farmers and exporters on quality and standards requirements. These efforts coupled with the introduction of the online ecertification system for issuance of Phytosanitary Certificates, has reduced the interceptions of our products to Europe due to documentation by 90%.
AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION: Government has partnered with Wash and wills Uganda limited for purchase of the single axle tractors/power tillers, implements and accessories at affordable price (tax waivers).
Government has partnered with New Holland International to set up a manufacturing and assembly plant for tractors, implements and spare parts and other related accessories to ease importation and promote export and local manufacture. Plans to set up the plant in Namalere are in advanced stages. In the meantime, Government procured additional 360 tractors and implements since FY 2020/21 bringing the total number of tractors procured by Government to 685.
Government also procured seven hundred and forty (740units) units Single Axle (Low powered-walking tractors) tractors with all accessories to support farmers to open, plough more farm land for cultivation. These small machines also support value addition, irrigation and transportation of produce.
Procurement of additional 120 tractors and matching implements is in advanced stages.
To increase access and availability of the agricultural mechanization and farm machinery services to all the farming communities, the Ministry is constructing and equipping the five Zonal agricultural mechanization centres of Mbale, Kiryandongo, Bushenyi, Agwata and Buwama out of the 19 planned centres country wide. Each centre is equipped with excavators, self-loading tracks, heavy earth-moving equipment, and bulldozers. MAAIF zonal engineers running these centres use the machines to open ground for the applicant farmers at subsidized rates compared to market hire rates. The Ministry has trained over 2,000 operators, engineers, technicians and mechanics to support farmers in the use of the tractors.
The Ministry is also piloting provision of tractor hire services using 40 tractors and implements for hire at a subsidized rate. These tractors and implements are accessed at the subsidized hire rate of Ugx 80,000 per acre for ploughing, harrowing and spraying, as compared with Ugx 120,000 per Acre charged by the private equipment owners. Equally, access to heavy earth moving equipment is subsidized. The Ministry rate is Ugx 480,000 per acre compared to Ugx 1,200,000 per acre charged by the private sector
The Government has increased its capacity to bush clear and open land for agriculture production from 2,206 acres per year to now 20,744 acres per year and has also increased the capacity to open, improve and rehabilitate farm access roads from 90.5km per year to now 938kms per year. This has reduced time spent by farmers travelling long distances on bad roads to access improved inputs and also opened up their villages to markets for their produce. The farmers are also better placed to negotiate for better prices with improved linkage and connectivity to the markets.
WATER FOR PRODUCTION AND IRRIGATION: Cumulative Water for Production storage capacity increased from 52.165 Million cubic meters in FY 2020/2021 to 52.48 Million cubic meters in the FY 2021/22. The performance was attributed to the government ‘s deliberate effort to construct both on-farm and off-farm water for agricultural production facilities. Area under formal irrigation is now 22,797 ha up from 15,147 ha in 2017/18.
Government has procured two complete sets of heavy earth moving equipment to support establishment of water harvesting facilities across the country.
The Ministry is constructing 2 large scale irrigation schemes; Acomai irrigation Scheme in Bukedea District (1,480 ha targeting 1,600); Atari Irrigation scheme in Kween/Bulambuli District (680 ha targeting 2,667 households).
The Ministry plans to construct the Igogero-Naigombwa irrigation scheme in Bugiri and Bugweri Districts respectively. These schemes will support 9000 small-scale rice farming households to increase rice production from 1.5 ton to 5 ton per ha.
Government established 1,000 micro-scale irrigation schemes country wide for crop production for smallholder farmers in 40 District Local Governments covering 800ha and 562 individual and communal valley tanks with a total holding capacity of 9.64 million m3 for livestock watering in the cattle corridor districts.
FOUR-ACRE APPROACH UNDER THE PARISH DEVELOPMENT MODEL: Government is currently implementing the Parish Development Model (PDM) to transform the livelihood of the 39% of the households still in subsistence to modern/commercial farming. The strategy under PDM is to transfer funds to parish-based SACCOS from where farmers can borrow and procure inputs such as seed and agro-chemicals for selected enterprises, including food security crops such as maize and beans.
Government will continue to ensure that farmers across the country access quality seed, planting and stocking material, in addition to other functions in disease and pest control, research, extension and overall policy guidance.
The Government will identify, profile, and partner with large scale commercial farmers (especially those with big chunks of land) to produce on a large scale, identified high-value commodities with high national and international demand. Some key commodities have been identified in this regard namely: Coffee, Macadamia, Avocado, Cashew nuts, Tea, Cotton, Beef Ranching, Oil Seeds (sunflower, sim sim, soya beans, and ground nuts), Oil Palm, Horticulture, Cocoa, Aquaculture, and any other enterprise that may emerge from time to time depending on its national and international demand.
POST-HARVEST HANDLING AND STORAGE: The Government has approved the new Fisheries and Aquaculture bill 2023 to; provide for control and regulation of all fisheries and aquaculture production activities and practices in an integrated manner to achieve conservation and sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits for the present and future generations.
Government approved the post-harvest loss reduction strategy which is guiding creation of awareness, promotion of better harvesting, post-harvest handling and storage facilities.
Government has made considerable investments in post-harvest management including supporting farmers/farmer groups with post-harvest handling equipment and establishment of storage facilities and training to increase farmer awareness of post-harvest losses.
These efforts have led to the reduction in post-harvest losses for grain from 37% in the year 2017/18 (base year) to about 18.2 percent while storage capacity for grain (in MT) has improved from 550,000 MT in 2017/18 to 1,230,000 MT in 2021/22.
Government has supported 296 farmer organisations to establish storage facilities with a total holding capacity of 54,579 MT across the country against the target of 358 storage facilities by the end of the Financial Year. These consisted of 35 stores for beans, 41 for cassava, 92 for coffee, 82 for maize and 37 for rice. This has resulted in a decrease in post-harvest losses to 18.2% compared to the 24.9% previously.
NAADS established 5 grain stores of 300MT capacity each in Kasese (2), Kyegegwa (1), Kitagwenda (2) under the AGRILED program for the Rwenzori sub region.
In the dairy sub-sector, Government completed rehabilitation of 2 milk collection centres in Kyegegwa and Katakwi districts and distributed 39 units of milk cooling equipment (coolers and generators) to 39 dairy farmers’ organizations in south western, Midwestern and central milk sheds to stimulate and rejuvenate dairy business activity within such areas and to increase the milk industry storage capacity.
Government has distributed 485 milk handling equipment to different dairy stakeholders across the country. The high-grade milk handling equipment came in three sizes (50L, 25L and 10L) to facilitate clean milk post-harvest storage and transportation. A total of 60 dairy cooperatives and farmer groups benefited from the milk handling equipment country wide. DDA Licensed and registered 1,564 dairy businesses countrywide. These included milk sales outlets/premises, dairy equipment dealers, exporters and importers, milk processors, transporters and Milk Collection Centers. The Authority is in the process to accredit the National Dairy Laboratory that will enable the Country to acquire National and International acceptance of test results and therefore facilitate both domestic and foreign trade.
AGRO PROCESSING AND VALUE ADDITION: Agro processing and value addition has improved through the provision of equipment including; Motorized Maize milling equipment, Milk coolers and generators; Rice milling equipment (threshers, hullers-polishers, cleaners, graders, etc.).
The interventions have resulted in a tremendous growth in the value of agricultural exports of 24 percent from USD 1,678 million in FY 2020/21 to USD 2,085 million in FY 2021/22. Specific interventions include;
Government through MAAIF has established 232 processing facilities for farmer organizations across the country. These included; 64 coffee hullers, 55 maize mills, 5 sets of feed mills, 27 rice mills, 17 cassava mills and 31 beans sorters, 14 sets of milk coolers and matching generators. Other equipment included 58 weighing scales, 64 moisture meters and 27 driers. Government under NAADS and Rwenzori AGRILED program installed 57 motorized coffee Pulpers (800kg of Cherie per hour) for 57 coffee wet processing stations under Bukonzo Organics farmers’ Cooperative Union & Mt Rwenzori farmers’ Cooperative union in Kasese District.
In the dairy sub-sector, the Government provided an enabling environment which led to an increase in milk production from 2.51billion litres to now 5.4 billion litres of which 80% litres is marketed. The country has increased its capacity to process dairy products including; milk powder; ghee, butter; UHT milk; casein; whey protein concentrate; pasteurized milk; yoghurt, cream, ice cream and cheese both for exports and local consumption from 3.1 million litres per day to now 3.4 million litres per day. This has resulted in an increase in the value of quality milk and milk products exported from USD 98.8million in 2021 to 103 million in 2022.
Uganda currently has new/emerging markets for milk and milk products specifically the Algeria Market which has offered Uganda a quota of USD. 500 million annually for powder milk.
STRATEGIC DIRECTION IN THE MEDIUM TERM: Government plans to increase Production, multiplication, certification and distribution of seed and stocking material. Other strategies include Pest and Disease Control, Mechanization and Irrigation, Farmer Mobilization and Education Partnerships with big commercial farmers for the production of strategic commodities to meet national and international demand. Special intervention/affirmative actions for the fisheries subsector and aquaculture development are also in progress.
 
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