{Mission Africa by Taj Agro}

Agriculture sector allocated UGX 1.5 trillion to boost Agro Production in Uganda

The agriculture sector has been allocated 1.534 Trillion Shillings for the financial year 2021/2022. This is an increase more than half from the 940 Billion the sector got in the current budget. 

About a third of the budget which is 536 Billion Shillings will be spent at the Ministry for administrative purposes, according to the 2021/2022 National Budget Framework Paper. The government hopes that this will help drive production and productivity in the sector. 

This is also 3.3% of the total national budget, still far below the 10% that Uganda and other African countries committed under the Maputo Declaration in 2003 in Mozambique. 

Apart from putting in place new laws, policies and regulations in place, the government will push for the review and amendment of various laws including the Animal Breeding Act, The National Dairy and Beef Cattle breeding strategy, The National Small Ruminant Breeding Strategy, The National Artificial Insemination Strategy, and the National Pig Breeding Strategy, as well as developing livestock product and breeding stock distribution guidelines. 

Under the Agri-led Interventions, the government intends to spend 200 Billion Shillings to increase production and productivity, increase agro-processing, increase market access and competitiveness of products as well as strengthen coordination among the different departments.

The plan targets improvement in the production of selected agricultural products like maize, from 5 million metric tons to 5.5 tons, increasing cassava output from 4.1 million tons to 5.45 million tons and doubling production of beans to 1.44 million tons.  Others include bananas, rice, tea, coffee, cotton, milk, fish and beef. 

The strategy involves the construction of processing facilities to improve post-harvest handling and storage, which will in turn help realized the better quality of products.   It also provides for increasing market access and competitiveness of agricultural products on the domestic and export markets. 

The government plans to continue with agricultural mechanization programs that will see 30 fully equipped tractors purchased and distributed. The implementation of the irrigation program is also expected to continue involving the provision of 20 micro and small scale water irrigation systems for smallholder farmers as demonstration projects. 

The program will be jointly managed through the Ministry of Water and Environment and will cost a total of 212 Billion Shillings. Mechanization will also involve the establishment of two Regional Farm Service Centres.   

Government has outlined several inputs for livestock, poultry and crops. Planting materials to be provided include Beans, maize, sorghum, cassava, Irish potatoes and banana suckers. 

Also to be provided are what the government has called strategic planting materials, that include tea, mango, citrus, cashew nuts, cocoa and apple seedlings, as well as pineapple suckers. 

For poultry farmers, distribution of local and exotic chicks will continue as well as breeds of animals for livestock farmers. The strategy also provided for the distribution of animal feed. 

Farming households will also be supported by dairy farming equipment and ICT infrastructure for heard management. 

The government also intends to start rehabilitation and equipping of Milk Collection Centers around the country, as well as the construction of new ones in Mbale and Gulu, on top of helping dairy farmers acquire milk cooling plans. 

Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness

The Diary Development Authority has been offered 62 Billion for the development of the dairy sector, which will include training of staff and farmers. There are also incentives set aside for the acquisition of refrigerated trucks and warehouses at border points and landing sites, as well as trucks and tricycles to farmer groups. 

A total of 293,500 farmers from 57 districts around the country are set to be provided with subsidized agriculture inputs. The country has an estimated 30 million people involved in farming.

On Agriculture extension, the government intends to recruit 170 ‘specialized value chain-focused extension workers’. 

The Independent

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