The country aims to increase agricultural exports to US$4 billion and halve the labour force engaged in subsistence production from six to three million.
Senior Ugandan government officials recently joined a team of private sector and development partner representatives for an intensive two-day meeting to develop a strategy to attract and increase investments in the country’s agricultural sector.
The meeting — organised in partnership with the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) Agency — reviewed the country’s Agriculture Sector Development Plan (ASSP) to identify opportunities for investment and to align it to the continental Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) which will present its biennial Inaugural Report review at the January 2018 AU Assembly.
Uganda’s national development blueprint, the National Development Plan II (NDP-II), that aims to propel the country towards middle-income status with a per capita income of US$1. 033 by 2020, places agriculture at the centre of this bold ambition.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Pius Wakabi Kasajja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, reiterated that it is the government’s goal to transform Uganda from a predominantly peasant and low-income country to a competitive upper and middle-income country.
“We aim to transform agriculture in Uganda from subsistence to commercial farming. It holds the greatest potential for attaining inclusive economic growth, employment creation and boosting local, regional and international trade,” said Kasajja.
Agriculture is still a major force inUganda’s poverty reduction, economic growth and economic development. The sector’s contribution to economic development remains strong, with agriculture contributing 24 percent of the national gross domestic product and 52 percent of total export earnings in 2015/16.
The sector is expected to contribute to wealth and employment creation through the implementation of actions for the value chain development of 12 priority commodities, namely: bananas, beans, maize, rice, cassava, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables, dairy, fish and livestock (meat); and four strategic commodities, namely, cocoa, cotton, oil seeds and oil palm.
Over the NDP-II period, the government aims to increase agricultural exports to
US$4 billion by 2020, from the current USD1.3 billion, and halve the labour force engaged in subsistence production from six to three million.
The meeting in Uganda is the third to be held in the continent after Nairobi (Kenya) in December and in Abuja (Nigeria) last week, as part of revamping the National Agricultural Investment Plans (NAIPs) linked to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) process. Similar meetings will be held in Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Senegal this month.
Speaking on behalf of the AUC’s Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ernest Ruzindaza, the AUC-CAADP Team Leader noted that the NAIPs are the central tool for implementing the AUC’s CAADP, as they translate continental and country aspirations into an evidence-based plan with clear targets, budgets and mutual accountability.
The NAIPs are also key to realising the ambitions of Africa’s Agenda 2063, a detailed 50-year framework for transforming African economies through inclusive growth and sustainable development.
“We all have a key role to play in energising the agriculture sector in Uganda in a bid to ensure food security in this country, create employment and accelerate the growth of the country’s economy,” said Ruzindaza.