KAMPALA – The Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has said that between FY 2015/16 and FY 2018/29, the sector contribution to national GDP averaged 23.7%.
While reporting the sector’s performance, the minister revealed that in the same period, the sector annual growth rate rose from 2.8% to 5%.
“The value of agriculture exports increased from USD 1.326 billion to USD 1.5 billion representing a growth of 20% in the past four financial years,” he said.
According to Ssempijja, the government prioritized maize due to its high potential for food security and contribution to national export earnings.
“Through the NAADS/Operation wealth creation programme, the Ministry distributed a total of 19,562,506 kgs of maize seed to both smallholders and commercial farmers in 120 district local governments in the last four years. Due to this intervention, the production of maize has increased by 33% from 2.6 million MT in 2016 to 3.6 million MT in 2019,” he said.
He added that the volume of maize exports has also increased by 6% from 263,114 MT in 2016 to 278,693 MT in 2019 while the value of exports has increased by 12% from USD 84.99 million in 2016 to USD 95.48 million in 2019.
The minister further revealed that the production of beans has however decreased over the past four years; from 1 million MT in 2016 to 0.627 million MT in 2019.
“Beans export volumes have also decreased by 6%, from 113,977 MT in 2016 to 107,678 MT in 2019 while the value has of exports has reduced from USD 65.85 million in 2016 to USD 61.97 million in 2019.”
Ssempijja said that coffee production has increased by 56% from 4.46 million bags in FY 2015/16 to 6.950 million bags in FY 2018/19.
“The volume of coffee exported also increased by 17% from 3.56 million bags in FY 2015/16 to 4.17 million bags in FY 2018/19 while the value of exports has increased by 18% from USD 351.53 million in FY 2015/16 to USD 416.2 million in FY 2018/19,” he said.
The Ministry has continued to promote cotton growing in order to sustain the country’s textile industries and for export of yarn.
“These efforts have resulted in a 25% increase in production from 151,081 bales of lint in 2016/17 to 189,443 bales of lint in FY 2018/19,” the report reads.
According to the minister, for the last four years, the production of fruits and vegetables has increased which has led to the construction of fruit industries.
“There has also been a 20% increase in export volumes of fruits and vegetables from 57,358 MT in 2015 to 68,862 MT in 2019 while the export values have increased by 13% from USD 32.1 million in 2015 to USD 36.1 million in 2019.” He noted.
The minister further reported an increase in milk production from 2.08 billion litres in 2015/16 to 2.51 billion litres in 2018/19.
“The volume of marketed milk has been maintained at 80 % between 2015 and 2019. The country has about 355 Milk Collection Centers (MCCs) with a total capacity of 1.5 million litres.”
Commenting on the fishing sector, he revealed that over the past 4 years, there has been a general increase in fish stocks across all the major water bodies mainly as a result of increased enforcement on the water bodies.
“This has resulted in a 43% increase in fish catch from 391,260 MT in 2016 to 561,065 MT in 2019 and in effect, resulted in the re-opening of 4 fish factories,” Minister Ssempijja said.
According to him, the government is promoting crossing local animals, to F1-50% and F 2-75% which can produce 12 and 18 liters of milk per day respectively.
“With F1 a farmer with good management gets 1.5 million Uganda shillings per animal per year. Six Cows of 75% dairy crosses earns more than 20million a year from milk.”
He noted that in FY 2018/19, using the assorted sets of heavy equipment acquired by the government, 456 valley tanks were constructed with a total holding capacity of 6,840,000 cubic meters.
The capacity to bush clear and open land for agriculture production has also increased, from 3,500 acres per year in FY 2016/17; to 8,400 acres per year in FY 2017/18 and now to 12,000 acres per year in FY 2018/19. The intervention has greatly reduced the cost of opening land and saved farmers a lot of time hence enabling them to make big chunks of land productive in time with the recommended planting times of the season.
Ssempijja the Ministry through NARO developed, released and promoted three coffee wilt disease resistant and high cup quality clones.
“The varieties NARO KR8, NARO KR9, and NARO KR10 yield 3.1, 3.9 and 4.8 t/ha/year respectively,”
To fight animal diseases, Ssempijja revealed that NARO developed two anti-tick vaccines to effectively control blue ear ticks (Boophilus decoloratus) and two (2) bio-acaricide formulations to manage the emerging challenge of tick resistance to available acaricides.
He said that one of the challenges faced by MAAIF includes among others prevalent pests, vectors and diseases, notably; Fall armyworm, tick resistance, Foot and Mouth Disease which constrained the sourcing and timeliness of delivery of stocking materials.
“For example, the prolonged quarantine in source districts for livestock due to the outbreak of Foot and mouth disease led to slow progress in the distribution of livestock materials particularly dairy heifers,” he said.
He added that, “Changing weather patterns which affect the timely distribution of
planting materials sometimes resulting into wastage of planting materials and low crop survival rates, excessive rainfall in some parts of the country affecting seasonal crops especially legumes.”