The rainy season is slowly returning though with some unpredictability yet Uganda’s agricultural sector has improved a lot.
The traditional cash crops of Uganda include: Coffee, Tea, Cotton and Tobacco. Uganda produces two kinds of coffee (Arabica and Robusta). Over the years, Robusta coffee has been produced in much more quantities compared to Arabica coffee (also known as mountain coffee). There was an increase in the volume of coffee and cotton produced in 2016, while tea production declined to 39,299 tonnes (33 percent) from 58,588 tonnes in 2015. A total of 243,061 tonnes of coffee was produced in 2016 resulting into an increment of about 6.1 percent from that produced in 2015. Cotton production increased to 20,339 tonnes from 17,275 tonnes produced in 2015 hence a 17.7% increment.
Sugarcane production has been increasing since 2013. In 2014, sugarcane production increased by 27.2 percent (3,350,000 tonnes) from 2,640,000 tonnes in 2013 while in 2016, the production reduced to about 3,100,000 tonnes (10.6 percent) having dropped from 3,430,000 tonnes in 2015.
Uganda grows several food crops of which 16 are major according to the Uganda Census of Agriculture (UCA) 2008/09. These include Maize, Millet, Sorghum, Rice, Cassava, Sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, Beans, Cow peas, Field peas, Pigeon peas, Groundnuts, Soya beans, Simsim, Plantains and Coffee. Area under major crop groups was as follows: Cereals (1,787,000 Ha), Roots and Tubers (1,347,000 Ha), Plantains (970,000 Ha), Oil crops (927,000Ha) and Pulses (762,688Ha). Area planted under cereals and root crops, pulses and oil crops increased by less than one percent except for area under plantains and pulses which decreased by about 0.3 percent and 0.01 percent respectively. There was a general reduction in production for most of the crops. There was a significant decline in production of plantains to 3,395,875 tonnes in 2016 (27 percent). Other crops with reduced production include millet (18 percent), maize (12 percent), sorghum (11 percent) and beans (25 percent) among others. Like the rest of the crops, most oil crops declined by about 3 percent.
Results from the UCA 2008/09 showed that the Eastern region was the main producer of Finger Millet (106,838 tonnes), Maize (1,108,554 tonnes), Rice (128,195 tonnes), Sweet Potatoes (847,140 tonnes) and Cassava (1,061,186 tonnes). The Northern region led in the production of Sorghum (177,088 tonnes), Field peas (10,428 tonnes), Pigeon peas (11,031 tonnes), Groundnuts (83,182 tonnes), Soya beans (15,727 tonnes) and simsim (93,562 tonnes). While the Western region led in the production of Banana-all types (2,883,648 tonnes) and Beans (411,945 tonnes). In terms of districts and within regions, the highest plantain Banana production in the country was reported in the district of Isingiro (601,363 tonnes). The districts with the highest production of plantain Banana in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Mubende (204,109 tonnes), Mbale (99,011 tonnes), Arua (17,106 tonnes) and Isingiro (601,363 tonnes) respectively.
The highest Maize production in the country was reported in the district of Iganga with 303,262 tonnes. The districts with the highest production of Maize in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Mubende (171,089 tonnes), Iganga (303,262 tonnes), Adjumani (47,264 tonnes) and Kabarole (91,318 tonnes) respectively. The highest Sweet Potatoes production in the country was reported in the district of Iganga with 270,853 tonnes. The districts with the highest production of Sweet Potatoes in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Nakasongola (66,419 tonnes), Iganga (270,853 tonnes), Gulu (61,732 tonnes) and Kyenjojo (40,148 tonnes) respectively. The highest Cassava production in the country was reported in the district of Apac with 239,932 tonnes. The districts with the highest production of Cassava in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Masaka (64,965 tonnes), Tororo (174,962 tonnes), Apac (239,932 tonnes) and Hoima (60,932 tonnes) respectively. Ntungamo district with 137,899 tonnes reported the highest Beans production in the country. The districts with the highest production of Beans in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Mubende (78,027 tonnes), Mbale (23,637 tonnes), Amuru (74,671 tonnes) and Ntungamo (137,899 tonnes) respectively. The highest Groundnuts production in the country was reported in the district of Soroti with 19,599 tonnes. The districts with the highest production of Groundnuts in the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western regions were Nakasongola (19,183 tonnes), Soroti (19,599 tonnes), Amuru (14,375 tonnes) and Kibaale (12,473 tonnes).
The three most common types of disposition for cereal crops are; sale, consumption and storage. A significant percentage of Maize production (40.5 percent) and Rice production (54.5 percent) was sold while most of the Finger millet (37.7 percent) and Sorghum (46.9 percent) were consumed by the producing households. For all the four cereals crops, less than 10 percent of production was used for other purposes.
Fish catch activities which are carried out in open water sources provide an important source of livelihood for many people in Uganda. Open Waters cover 15.3 percent of Uganda’s total surface area 241,550.7Km2 and this comprises of five major lakes (Victoria, Albert, Kyoga, Edward and George), which are the main contributors to capture fisheries. Lake Victoria continued to be the most important water body in Uganda, both in size and contribution to the fish catch. Its share of catch was 52.1 percent in 2015 and this rose to 54.2 percent in 2016. This was followed by Lake Albert (31.7%) and Lake Kyoga (8.7 %).
There was an increase in the fish catch for Lake Victoria from 238,630 tonnes produced in 2015 to 252,804 tonnes in 2016. Albert Nile, Lakes Edward, George and Kazinga channel and other waters also registered an increase in fish catch. However, Lake Albert, Lake Kyoga and Lake Wamala recorded a decline in fish catch during the year 2016. It is worth noting that over 90 percent of the fish catch is harvested from Lakes Victoria, Albert and Kyoga.
Livestock plays an important role in the country’s food security and it is the main source of proteins. There was a 2.4 percentage increase in the cattle population from 14,031,000 in 2015 to 14,368,000 in 2016. In addition, sheep and goat numbers increased from 4,198,000 to 4,307,000 and from 15,312,000 to 15,312,000 respectively in the year 2015 and 2016. This was a 2.6 and 2.7 percentage increase respectively for the small ruminants. The pig population also increased from 3,916,000 in 2015 to 4,037,000 in 2016 while poultry numbers increased from 45,145,000 in 2015 to 46,291,000 in 2016.
Cattle, Goats and Poultry indigenous breeds continue to be dominant over the exotic ones, there were 13,377,000, 15,521,000 and 40,597,000 indigenous cattle (93.3 %), goats (98.7 %) and poultry (87.7 %) respectively. On the other hand, the exotic breed contributed 991,000, 5,694,000 and 204,000 for cattle (6.7 %), goats (1.3 %) and poultry (12.3 %) respectively in 2016
The National Resistance Movement however encourages all Ugandans to continue working hard and also plant seeds that can sustain our weather in order to keep the flag high in the sector
Namayanja Rose Nsereko
National Treasurer- NRM