Contribution of Agriculture to Uganda’s Economy and Sector challenges

Uganda is one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa with a population of slightly over 45 million and growing a rate of 3.2% per annum. The country had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 45.2 billion during 2021/22 FY up from USD 41.1 billion the previous FY. In FY 2021/22, agriculture accounted for about 24.1% of GDP, 33% of export earnings and 72% of employment. Agro-processing is the backbone of the manufacturing sector accounting for approximately 60% of its total output. Approximately 90% (4.9 million) of farmers in the country operate at a small-scale subsistent level with 39% of them not accessing the market economy. The main agricultural crops in Uganda include grains, sugarcane, cotton, tea, and coffee which accounts for 20% of total export earnings and a third of foreign exchange earnings Uganda is one of the countries with a high potential to achieve food security for its people and beyond due to a favourable climate and agro-ecological condition. However, due to internal and external constraints, food insecurity affects part of the population in certain geographies from time to time. Several factors contribute to food insecurity in Uganda, the key ones being:

  1. Low budgetary allocation to agriculture which leads to inadequate implementation of agriculture projects and programmes.
  2.  Declining soil fertility and low fertilizer use.
  3.  Inadequate access to agriculture extension and improved agriculture inputs (e.g., improved seed).
  4. Limited use of irrigation.
  5.  Limited mechanization.
  6.  High post-harvest losses.
  7.  Conflicts and food distribution and access constraints; shocks and stressors such as Covid-19, landslides, droughts, pests and diseases.