Uganda spends less on agriculture in East Africa

Thursday October 10 2019

Spends so little. Uganda, according to the

Spends so little. Uganda, according to the World Bank, spends so little on agriculture thus failing to have good returns from the sector. FILE PHOTO  

By Martin Luther Oketch

KAMPALA. Uganda spends less money in the agriculture sub-sector than any other East African country, according to a World Bank report on public expenditure review.

The report, released on Tuesday, indicates that Uganda spends only 3.6 per cent of its budget on agriculture, which is the lowest in the region.

At 5.3 per cent, the report indicates, Rwanda spends more on agriculture that any other country in the East African region.

Kenya spends 5.2 per cent of its budget on agriculture while Tanzania spends 3.9 per cent, slightly above what Uganda spends.

Agriculture remains the largest employer of Ugandans with 68 per cent of the population engaged in the sector.

However, much of the sector is still largely subsistence due to lack funding to support the commercialisation drive.

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Presenting findings of the report in Kampala on Tuesday, Dr Ladisy Komba Chengula, the World Bank lead agricultural economist, said: “Uganda’s share of final public expenditure in agriculture sector is the lowest at only 3.6 per cent.”

However, he noted the spend was above what other regions such as North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa spend.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, agriculture was allocated Shs992. 9b in the 2018/19 financial year and Shs1.052 trillion in 2019/20 financial year.

Agriculture plays a strategic role in Uganda’s economic development in terms of food security, raw material for industries, foreign exchange earnings and employment among others.

Dr Komba said agriculture continues to compete for resources, with a number of sectors such as infrastructure, energy and human development, among others.

He noted that there is need for a strategic shift influenced by improved budgeting and management, strengthening budget monitoring and evaluation, among others.

“The Ministry of Agriculture should increase the share of capital expenditures to achieve the agricultural gross domestic product growth of 6 per cent,” he said, noting that Uganda should reform its subsidy to target small holder farmers with potential to commercialise.

Government, under Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Komba said, should redirect resources to research and development, extension and advisory services and regulatory functions as well as increasing budget allocations to local governments to improve the provision of frontline agricultural services.

Other policy recommendations, he suggested, include improving budget management, better alignment of agriculture and linking agriculture to National Development Plan, Medium Term Expenditure Framework and annual budgets.

Policy shift

According to the World Bank, government should concentrate on improving budget processes such as planning, execution, and monitoring and evaluation.
This should involve embracing programme-based budgeting, improve budget classification and introduce public expenditure tracking surveys.

Establishment of a credible system of monitoring off-budget donor-funded programmes, according to Dr Komba must be adopted.

Mr Antony Thompson, the World Bank country representative, said agriculture is a key economic sector that has the potential to support Uganda’s Vision 2040.

Over 70 per cent of Ugandans derive their livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture while the sector contributes about 25 per cent of gross domestic product.

moketch@ug.nationmedia.com

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