Uganda losing agricultural advantage to neighbours - UN

Although women are mostly involved in agricultural production, when it comes to marketing of produce, it is the men who dominate the decision-making. PHOTO BY MICHAEL J SSALI

What you need to know:

  • Speaking during the Agribusiness Mkutano (conference) in Kampala, Dr Dmitry Pozhidaev, the United Nations Capital Development Fund country and regional head, said before the 2000s, Uganda was ahead of all East African member states in terms of agriculture productivity, but Rwanda and Kenya have since become superior.

Uganda is losing its agricultural productivity advantage to neighboring countries due to lack of sufficient development in the sector, according to the United Nations Capital Development Fund.   
Speaking during the Agribusiness Mkutano (conference) in Kampala, Dr Dmitry Pozhidaev, the United Nations Capital Development Fund country and regional head, said before the 2000s, Uganda was ahead of all East African member states in terms of agriculture productivity, but Rwanda and Kenya have since become superior. 

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“Uganda has lost the agricultural productivity advantage [it held] over Rwanda in the early 2000s. It now lags behind Kenya and is much more behind South Africa,” he said, noting that because of low productivity, a number of people have moved to other sectors of economy yet they have low absorption capacity thus exacerbating unemployment. 

Dr Pozhidaev also noted that since the 2000s, productivity in the services sector has doubled while that of manufacturing continues to fluctuate. 
Under the National Development Plan II, government had sought to realise a 2.2 percent annual increase in agricultural productivity and increase in labour productivity by 40 percent. 
However, this has not been achieved, thus frustrating the fight against unemployment in a country where 600,000 youth annually enter the job market. 
Therefore, Dr Pozhidaev said, there is need to develop targeted policies, knowledge sharing, skill development and financing of improved agricultural productivity is to be achieved. 

The Agribusiness Mkutano under the theme: [email protected]: Fulfiling the agro-industrialisation agenda for Uganda seeks to reconginse the entire value addition chains as an important player in the fight against unemployment and industrialisation. 
Ms Mona Muguma Ssebuliba, the aBi chief executive officer, said there is need to ensure that farmers access credit and grant to improve productivity. 
For instance, she noted, aBi was playing a key role in supporting agribusinesses actors in coffee, dairy, cereals, horticulture, oil seeds and poultry value chain to increase their capacity to produce large quantities and quality commodities as well as supporting them with a number of processes to sufficiently supply both the local and international markets.

In the coffee value chain alone, Ms Ssebuliba said, aBi has in the last three years invested Shs17.7b to promote agro-industrialisation with specific interventions seeking to support establishment of coffee hurlers, coffee washing stations and capacity building to access international and niche markets. 
 

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