According to the United Nations Capital Development Fund, Uganda is losing its agricultural productivity advantage to neighboring countries due to a lack of adequate development in the sector.
Dr. Dmitry Pozhidaev, the country and regional head of the United Nations Capital Development Fund, stated during the Agribusiness Mkutano (conference) in Kampala that before the 2000s, Uganda was ahead of all East African member states in terms of agricultural productivity, but Rwanda and Kenya have since surpassed Uganda.
“Uganda has lost its agricultural productivity advantage over Rwanda that it had in the early 2000s.” It now lags behind Kenya and even further behind South Africa,” he said, noting that due to low productivity, many people have moved to other sectors of the economy, but they have low absorption capacity, exacerbating unemployment.
Dr Pozhidaev also noted that since the 2000s, productivity in the services sector has doubled while that of manufacturing continues to fluctuate.
Under the National Development Plan II, government had sought to realise a 2.2 percent annual increase in agricultural productivity and increase in labour productivity by 40 percent.
However, this has not been achieved, thus frustrating the fight against unemployment in a country where 600,000 youth annually enter the job market.
Therefore, Dr Pozhidaev said, there is need to develop targeted policies, knowledge sharing, skill development and financing of improved agricultural productivity is to be achieved.
The Agribusiness Mkutano under the theme: [email protected]: Fulfiling the agro-industrialisation agenda for Uganda seeks to reconginse the entire value addition chains as an important player in the fight against unemployment and industrialisation.
Ms Mona Muguma Ssebuliba, the aBi chief executive officer, said there isneed to ensure that farmers access credit and grant to improve productivity.
For instance, she noted, aBi was playing a key role in supporting agribusinesses actors in coffee, dairy, cereals, horticulture, oil seeds and poultry value chain to increase their capacity to produce large quantities and quality commodities as well as supporting them with a number of processes to sufficiently supply both the local and international markets.
In the coffee value chain alone, Ms Ssebuliba said, aBi has in the last three years invested Shs17.7b to promote agro-industrialisation with specific interventions seeking to support establishment of coffee hurlers, coffee washing stations and capacity building to access international and niche markets.
Apart from direct grant financing, she noted, aBi also avail lines of credit to financial institutions to boost liquidity for on-lending to SMEs to invest in agro Industrialisation.