81% of Ugandans opt for agriculture when it comes to investing

Majority of Ugandans choose agriculture as the first form of investment, according to Bank of Uganda. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • At last 81.3 percent of working Ugandans choose to invest in agriculture, while 19.3 percent and 11.8 percent choose land and wholesale and retail trade, respectively. 

At last 81.3 percent of working Ugandans choose agriculture as the first choice when it comes to investing in both the short and long term, according to the Financial Capability Survey.  

The findings are contained in a 78-page report conducted by Bank of Uganda in collaboration with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

The findings, which were compiled by Uganda Bureau of Statistics during the period ended December 2020 and published in mid-April, highlight a number of key financial parameters, among which include household incomes, investment, insurance uptake, saving and financial management, among others. 

At least 3,338 households in rural and urban areas, which is representative of 22.8 million working adult between 16 years and above, were interviewed. 

The report notes that majority of working Ugandans choose agriculture as the first choice investment. 

However, the report does not indicate the reasons for the decision, but could be explained by the composition of interviewed households, 72.7 percent of which were in rural areas.  

At 19.3 percent, land comes in as the second best choice of investment, while 11.8 percent said they would choose to invest in retail and wholesale trade. 

At least 10.1 percent of respondents said they would invest in building,  while 9.1 percent and 6.6 percent said they would invest in education and trade and services, respectively.

About six in every 10 adult Ugandans, the survey notes, reported failure of their investments due to natural calamities, poor monitoring, low risk awareness, wrangles and poor management, among others.  

Agriculture employs majority of Ugandans with at least 73 percent of working adults reporting that in order to meet most of their financial goals,  they engage in farming or agriculture. 

The Financial Capability Survey, which is the second edition, seeks to shape policies by understanding the financial capability of Ugandans as well as finding out how adult Ugandans make financial decisions as well as achieving them. 

Government has been sending mixed signals in terms of agricultural investment, noting that it cannot transform the economy. 

However, the Bank of Uganda findings will provoke a new debate given that government officials have previously refused to prioritise agriculture as a driver of the economy. 

Recently, Mr Ramathan Ggoobi, the Ministry of Finance permanent secretary, said government must be deliberate in regard to economic transformation, noting there must be change from subsistence to industrialisation. 

“As peoples’ incomes rise, the fraction spent on food or agriculture products declines while that spent on manufactured items and modern services (like banking, telecommunication and transport) increases,” he said, noting that in transformed countries, the share of workers employed in agriculture is smaller compared to those in the services and industrial sectors. 

Commenting on the survey findings, Ms Agnes Kirabo, the Foods Rights Alliance executive director, said under the National Development Framework, government has a responsibility to transform agriculture, noting that industrialisation has to be agro-based because majority of the population is currently earns from agriculture.

Choice of investment 

Item and response 
Agriculture- 81.3%                                                                                                                                
Land- 19.3%                                                                    
Wholesale and retail trade- 11.8%
Building- 10.1%
Education- 9.1%                
Trade and services-6.1%