KAMPALA, JUNE 22 -Initiatives that seek to address the issues holding back the potential of Uganda’s agricultural sector need to be closely matched with policy actions say speakers at 5th National Agriculture and Food Security Forum in Kampala.
Discussing how increased funding for agriculture in the 2016/17 budget was likely to impact
production and productivity in the sector, speakers took note of the fact that despite potential, growth had stagnated at 1.5 percent, a rate too low to improve the incomes of the 72 percent of Uganda’s population that depend on agriculture for a living.
The low growth rates are associated with low productivity and poor yields, itself a result of low adoption of productivity enhancing technologies such as fertilisers, improved seed, irrigation and pesticides.
“Intensification and better farming practices can transform the agriculture sector to desired levels, but we need to better coordination across the entire process chain because intensification is a package of yield-enhancing inputs and not a single intervention,” says Francis Mwesigye a Fellow at the Makerere University based Economic Policy Research Centre.
For instance it is not enough to just distribute improved seed without distributing improved fertilizers and eliminating counterfeit and substandard agro inputs on the market largely due to weak regulations and implementation polices at sector level.
Agriculture was allocated UShs. 823.42 billion for fiscal 2016/17 , a 65percent increament over the previous year but analysts believe that without better alignment between policy and action, budgetary allocations alone will not yield much. Mwesigye says there is also a need to address the question of the land tenure system along financing mechanisms for producers.
EPRC Executive Director Sarah Sewanyana says another crucial aspect that needs to be tackled is the need to address the policy issues surrounding policy implementation because it is such mismatches that have allowed the sprouting up and survival of fake counterfeit agro-inputs on the market.