Monday June 21 2010

Ministry, Ubos launch agriculture web data system

By Faridah Kulabako


The ministry of Agriculture and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics have launched a national web-site to ease access to information.
The web-based database will enable policy makers and researchers access data on production, trade and consumption.

Speaking at the launch of CountryStat Uganda website in Kampala on Wednesday, the executive director of Ubos Mr J.B Male Mukasa, said agricultural data is an important planning tool since it is a driver of Uganda’s economy.

The website financed by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation also aims to support agriculture and food security in Uganda.

CountryStat is an international information system for agriculture that harmonises and integrates data on food and agriculture from different sources through a core data base to facilitate the study of relationships and processes in agricultural production through out the world. Agriculture contributes over 90 per cent of Uganda’s exports earnings and provides employment to about 80 per cent of the population. Its contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product is, however, said to have declined from 56 per cent in the 1990s to 15 per cent in 2009.
Mr Male, however, defended the figures saying that though agriculture is still dominant, other sectors like the services industry have grown faster thus making its contribution look smaller. He said: “When economies grow, agriculture tends to contribute a smaller portion to its GDP. That does not mean its performing poorly.”

Mr Seth Mayinza, the coordinator CountryStat Uganda said the website will aid quick decision making through easy provision of information. It will also reduce the costly computer networks set up to link government offices.