Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy with majority (both crops and livestock) on small farms for food and cash income, and on fairly large farms including ranches. The major livestock species include cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, and poultry. From an economic point view, cattle are the most important livestock with significant contributions, though to a lesser extent from goats and sheep.
The major food crops in Uganda have been plaintains, millet, cassava, sweet potatoes, sorghum, corn, beans, and groundnuts. Over 80% of the population relies upon agriculture for its livelihood. This however doesnot reflect in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That is, most of the people in Uganda are involved in some way with agriculture , but they constitute a very small portion of the nation’s GDP.
This is evident in my neighborhood, just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me how almost every household has a small shamba(garden) in their backyard. These have vegetables, a few cassava stems, and fruits. Nonetheless, these shambas are on a very small scale which doesnot adequately satisfy the community, let alone national demand. The farming systems and practices are also fairly homogeneous and rudimentary with the locals using tools like pangas, hand-hoes, and slashers.
If only more emphasis and investment is put in the agricultural sector, it will play a huge role in curbing the ridiculous unemployment rates in Uganda (8 out of every 10 graduates are unemployed!) The sector could absorb these youths into different stages of the agricultural process i.e ploughing, planting, harvesting, marketing, etc.
In my opinion, agriculture if managed properly could be a sector flowing with milk and honey!
Until next time…