Agriculture in Uganda
“Enkumbi terimba” goes one Luganda saying literally meaning “A hoe does not lie”. Agriculture is the main economic activity carried out in Uganda. Just like it is referred to as the backbone of Africa, Uganda’s survival majorly depends on it. It has been able to sustain the economy of Uganda through the provision of food, employment opportunities, industrial inputs, government revenue, animal labor, among other things.
Different regions in Uganda have specialized in carrying out different agricultural activities and this is due to their climatic difference and also the soil varieties, together with the varying landscapes. These activities include crop farming, livestock keeping, poultry farming, bee keeping, fishing, and many others.
In earlier years, agriculture was mostly carried out on a subsistence basis that is, crops were grown mainly for household consumption and the surplus sold to get income. However, despite the fact that this still goes on, a good number of people have now turned to commercialized agriculture. Crops are grown and livestock is reared on a larger basis and crops which were originally termed as food crops are now more of cash crops. The following are the most popular crops grown in Uganda;
This is majorly grown for export. It has been Uganda’s most important cash crop and also the top-earning export crop since the 1980s, providing the country with a high foreign exchange. Uganda grows both Robusta and Arabica coffee although other improved varieties have been introduced to increase the yield. Coffee is mainly grown in the Eastern region specifically along the slopes of Mt. Elgon and this is due to the fact that it requires highly fertile soils and sufficient rainfall which the region can ably provide. It also grows well in the Central region that is, Buganda as it also possesses the required conditions for it to thrive.
It is processed both from within and also abroad and its most popular product is the revered coffee beverage. Uganda grows both Robusta and Arabica coffee although other improved varieties have been introduced to increase the yield. Some coffee growers in Uganda have also ventured into the growing of cocoa
Cotton was the second most important traditional cash crop in Uganda contributing approximately 25% of the total agricultural exports. It was introduced in Uganda in 1903. In the Northern areas, with one rainy season, cotton planting starts at the beginning of the April – June rains. In the South, with two rain seasons, planting occurs later in the June – July period. Cotton is not inter-planted with other crops but, it is grown in rotation with other crops.
It is mainly grown in the districts of Kitgum, Pader, Lira, Apac, Masindi, Katakwi, Kumi, Kasese, Gulu, Adjumani, among others. Uganda is among the top 10 world producers of organic cotton and the leading one in Africa.
It is used in the making of cloth fabrics, oil, and also soap. Its husks are used by farmers in the mulching of their gardens. Cotton is hand-picked since it is delicate and care has to be taken in harvest therefore; using machines to pick it could spoil it.
Uganda is Africa’s largest tea producer. Introduced in Uganda in 1909 but commercial production started in the late 1920s. Uganda owes its tea growth to its rich fertile soils and temperate climate.
One of the country’s largest tea producers is Uganda Tea Corporation, Limited (UTCL), headed up by Executive Chairman, Mrs. Yvonne Diana Mehta. The company owns and operates three large estates: Kasuku, Luwala, and Salaama, located in the Mukono and Jinja Districts.
Sugarcane is one of the most important cash crops in Uganda. It is important in the production of sugar, a product most households purchase on a daily basis. The sugar producing companies in Uganda include Kakira Sugar Works, Kinyara Sugar Works Limited, Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL), Sango Bay Estates Limited, Mayuge Sugar Industries Limited- Mayuge District and Sugar& Allied Industries Limited- Kaliro District
Other newly established manufacturers of sugar include: Mukwano Sugar Factory (Masindi), Tirupati Sugar Factory (Nakasongola), Uganda Crop Industries (Buikwe), Kafu Sugar Factory (Masindi), Kamuli Sugar Factory (Kamuli), Kenlon Sugar Factory (Buyende), and Bugiri Sugar Company (Bugiri).
These are majorly grown in Kalangala Island District and their main product is the cooking oil. The main producer of this oil is Bidco Uganda Limited. The Oil Palm is a highly productive source of Oil.
The crops listed above are majorly grown for purposes of export and industrial input. However, people in Uganda also grow crops for the domestic market and also local consumption. Some of these include; sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, plantain bananas (matooke), millet, maize, peanuts, sorghum, beans, peas, green leafy vegetables, cassava, and very many others. Most of these are consumed directly from harvest and do not require much of factory processing, save for those which have to be milled first.
Farming does not only involve the growing of crops. As mentioned earlier, Ugandan also rear animals, the most common being cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, and many more. Poultry keeping is another major activity where birds being reared include: chicken, ducks, pigeons, turkeys, guinea fowls, among others. Animal farming is important in the production of meat, milk, eggs, hides and skins, name it all.
Other exotic crops like apples, pears, grapes, flowers, and many more are also being adopted by many farmers in the country mostly in the Southern districts like Kabale. This could imply that in future, Uganda may as well importing these crops and instead be a major producer supplying other countries.
In a nutshell, Uganda’s agricultural sector has grown and the fact that it is indispensable in national development, the government continues to tirelessly incentivize it.”,”Agriculture in Uganda”,”“Enkumbi terimba” goes one Luganda saying literally meaning “A hoe does not lie”. Agriculture is the main economic activity carried out in Uganda. Just like it is referred to as the backbone of Africa, Uganda’s survival majorly depends on it. It has been able to sustain the economy of Uganda through the provision of food, employment opportunities, industrial inputs…