apopug

Agriculture & Food Security

 

 

 

Agriculture has for a long time been a core sector of Uganda’s economy in terms of its contribution to GDP and employment. By 2005 it employed 73 percent of the labour force (UBOS, 2005). Much of the industrial activity in the country is agro-based. Even though its share in total GDP has been declining, agriculture remains important because it provides the basis for growth in other sectors such as manufacturing and services. 

Being the largest employer, the majority of women (83 per cent) is employed in agriculture as primary producers and contributes 70-75 per cent of agricultural production. In the face of the global financial crisis, agriculture is contributing a lot of foreign exchange revenue from regional trade and therefore improving the country’s balance of payments position, and in the process helps to stabilize depreciation of the shilling. Therefore, investing more in agriculture to achieve higher sector growth rates is the surest way of effectively reducing poverty. It is for these reasons that agriculture is being given a lot of attention in national development.

In the last eight years the policy environment for the agriculture sector in Uganda has been shaped by the Plan for Modernization of Agriculture (PMA) which is a multi-sectoral policy framework for agriculture and rural development. The multi-sectoral nature of PMA gave it breadth that agriculture needs to move forward. Its scope covered seven pillars: research and technology development; national agricultural advisory services; rural finance; agro-processing and marketing; agricultural education; physical infrastructure and sustainable natural resource utilization and management. The PMA implementation mandate spread across 13 ministries and agencies, which among other factors, affected implementation. In 2005, the Rural Development Strategy (RDS) was formulated with the overall objective of raising household incomes with a focus on the sub-county as a basic unit for planning. In 2006, a much broader vision of Prosperity for All (PFA) with a goal   to improve lives of all Ugandans in all aspects – higher incomes, improved access to services in a peaceful and democratically governed country. In 2006, the first Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) were developed as a medium-term plan of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The DSIP was to translate the national goals and priorities contained in the PMA into a plan for Public Sector activities in the agricultural sector. 

Agency for People Owned Processes strongly believes that the recent initiative of the government, which is the national development plan 2011-2015, is a step in the right direction. However more remains to be done in terms of changing policy directions to accommodate indigenous knowledge and local innovations in the research and extension systems and urban agriculture.