President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has identified ten major challenges to agricultural sector in Uganda as being low commercial agricultural levels, lack of linkage between research and farmers, low use of fertilizers, low coverage of irrigation, land fragmentation, low level of value addition, high cost of finance, lack of agricultural machinery, vectors and diseases, and poor transport network.
“Sixty eight percent of the homesteads are not in the money economy. Many families still belong to the pre-capitalist mode of production. People do not produce for money but for eating and social obligations. I have told Makerere University to develop solar powered pumps so we do not have to use diesel pumps and every home can take advantage of irrigation,” he said.
President Museveni called for increased coverage of irrigation saying that it would stabilize production.
The President was speaking at the launching of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Leveraging Excellence in Agricultural Development (LEAD) programme that took place yesterday at the Commonwealth Munyonyo Resort Hotel in Kampala.
Mr. Museveni thanked the American government for helping Uganda control tsetse flies that had affected the country from River Kagera all the way to the Central Region of the country.
The outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr. Tress Buchanayandi commended the American government for the support to the agricultural sector in Uganda. He also pledged the resilience of the Ministry to ensure that agriculture becomes the vehicle for industrialization in the country.
The American Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Deborah Malac said the LEAD programme is set to create a consultative group of leaders in agriculture and other related sectors who care about sparking explosive growth in the agricultural sector in Uganda.
“Uganda, like all countries, needs leaders to inspire, to counsel, to advise, and to help leverage Uganda’s significant potential to use agricultural development as a means of propelling economic growth,” she said.
She observed that the Ugandan government, working together with the private sector, will accelerate Uganda’s transformation to a middle income country and, above all, ensure that millions of farming households earn a good living from agriculture.
Ambassador Philip Idro, a participant in the LEAD programme, noted that the programme will enable government and the private sector to get better strategies in the enhancement of production.
“The objective of LEAD is to cleanse the environment whereby the private sector is trained to negotiate policies with government,” he said.
LEAD is a 10-month programme set to stimulate explosive growth in the agricultural sector by empowering some of Uganda’s most trusted, powerful, and well known agriculture sector leaders, to propose solutions to the sector’s most serious and seemingly intractable problems.