Kampala. Uganda loses between 4 and 12 per cent of GDP due to inefficiencies in the agricultural sector, according to the World Bank report.
The losses are mainly incurred through uncontrolled soil erosion that largely affects mechanisation.
According to the report, the losses presents a serious challenge that must be dealt with head-on.
Agricultural contribution to gross domestic product, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), dropped to 21 per cent in the 2017/18 financial year compared to 21.5 per cent in 2016/17.
The drop has been consistent and is reflected in other financial years.
According to the report, Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change, which not only affects output but has long term effects such as increasing poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the report in Kampala, Ms Christina Malmberg Calvo, the World Bank country manager, said: “Less than 2 per cent of cultivated land is irrigated. So here is a clear action point. Uganda’s agriculture has to turn around now.”
Agriculture, she said, is the ‘green gold’ that can transform the economy. However, she wondered “why Uganda’s well documented agricultural potential [has not been] properly realised”.
According to the World Bank, agricultural growth and commercialisation can only happen if there is increased private sector participation and financing.
Small farmers, Ms Malmberg said, need to aggregate into associations and producer organisations to engage more effectively with both input and output markets.
Dr Joseph Muvawala, the National Planning Authority (NPA) executive director, said there was a problem with how institutions in Uganda work, which is contributing to the high failure rate.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Pius Wakabi Kasajja, said Ugandans need to graduate agriculture from being a hobby, arguing that it was high time “we [get] firm on policies pertaining to agricultural development”.
Agriculture, he said, should become a business that is controlled by the forces of demand and supply.
The report provides an unprecedented review of the structural context of Ugandan agriculture, its main actors and the trends, opportunities and challenges of the sector.