Uganda is a landlocked country bordered by Kenya in the east, Sudan in the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the west, Rwanda in the southwest and Tanzania in the south. Uganda’s total land area is 241,559 sq. km. About 37,000 sq. km of this area is occupied by open water while the rest is land.
Uganda is located on the East African plateau, averaging about 1,100 meters (3,609 ft.) above sea level. The plateau generally slopes downwards towards Sudan explaining the northerly tendency of most river flows in the country. Although generally equatorial, the climate is not uniform since the altitude modifies the climate. Uganda’s elevation, soil types and predominantly warm and wet climate impart a huge agricultural potential to the country. They also explain the country’s large variety of forests, grasslands and wildlife reserves. Uganda has a total population of about 41.49 million people.
Land Area: 199,808 Sq. Km. 82.7%
Water and Swamps: 41,743 Sq. Km 17.3%
Total Area: 241,551 Sq. Km.
Latitude: 4012’N and 1029’S
Longitude: 29034’E and 3500’W
Total Population (2016): 41.49 million (World Bank)
Female Population: 21.19 million
Male Population: 20.3 million
Percentage Urban (2012):14.7 %
Population/Aged under 18 Years (2008 mid-year): 56%
Minimum (above sea level – Albert Nile): 620 metres
Maximum (above sea level – Mt. Rwenzori):5,110 metres
Kampala: Annual Mean Temperature: 17.00C
Kampala: Annual Rainfall: 1436.0 mm
- Arable Land
- Permanent Crops
- Permanent Pastures
- Forests & Woodland
Arable Land: 25%
Permanent Crops: 9%
Permanent Pastures: 9%
Forests and Woodland: 28%
Literacy Rate (2006): 69 %
GDP at current market prices (US$ million): 15.01
Per capita GDP at current market Prices (US$) (2011): 1,241
GDP Growth at constant (2002) market prices: 5.6%
Per capita GDP at constant (2002) market Prices: 1.9%
Agriculture as a % to GDP at market prices: 22.5%
Balance of Payments surplus (US$ million):210.9
Inflation rate (March 2012):21.2%
Note: *Demographic estimates were based on the census 2002 final results by Uganda Bureau of Statistics
Agriculture is a core sector of Uganda’s economy. It contributed about 23% of GDP at current prices in 2011. Agricultural exports accounted for 48.5% of total exports in 2012. The sector provides the basis for growth in other sectors such as manufacturing and services.
About 60 percent of Uganda’s population is engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Agriculture has grown at an average rate of 2.8% per year in the last 8 years. It presents immense opportunities for growth in other sectors like manufacturing especially agro-processing.
The agricultural sector is fragmented and dominated by small farmers most of whom combine subsistence farming with cash crop and livestock farming. Most farmers own land individually except in parts of Northern Uganda where land is communally owned. Farming is gradually becoming mechanized although the bulk of cultivation is still done by hand or cattle driven ox ploughs.
The biggest of Ugandan farmers do farming on a small scale to produce food for home consumption and if there is excess, it can be sold. This is mainly due to the primitive farming equipment (hand hoe and ox plough) that are still being used to prepare the land. They can only cultivate what they can till in the limited land preparation period.
The growing population, social economic factors and political instabilities have left a big part of arable land fragmented and not suitable for large scale farming
Rice growing, fishing, sand mining have left most of the water catchment systems, swamps and streams in a sorry state. This has been worsened by the fact that most of the culprits are in languishing poverty and this is their only option
The alternative source of income has been abused especially in areas where the government has little or no control, leaving the farmers to practice fishing as a means of survival.
89% of Ugandans to use firewood and charcoal as the main sources of fuel to cook. As a desperate mean of survival, people have carelessly cut down trees for firewood and to burn them for charcoal which greatly impacts on the environment and climate. This also distorts the rainfall pattern on the area hence affecting farming.
Uganda is blessed with the climate that allow the flora to naturally flourish. About 18.4% translating to 3,627,000 hectares of Uganda is forested. We have naturally existing forest that, are unfortunately being cut for timber to feed the growing construction industry and firewood thereby destroying the rainfall catchment areas.
This is considered the cheapest and most effective land clearing technique. It’s clearly due to lack of equipment the clear farmland. Unfortunately, this practice pollutes the environment and destroys the microorganisms in the soil.
In the Ugandan law, its legal children to work on farms. It is also socially traditionally acceptable to children to do farm work, however, how much work a child has to be subjected to is undefined and often time these young children are overworked. This is sometimes done at the expense of attaining education. It is a common practice for school going children to first cultivate in the garden before walking long distances to school
Unpredictable weather and climate change
Over 80% of Ugandan farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture. Climate change and changes in rainy seasons, partly attributed to the poor practices above have made timely land preparation with primitive tools impossible
Bureaucracy and high interest on loans
Local farmers do not do proper bookkeeping and have no provable income as most of their transactions are informal. Lack of acceptable collateral Coupled with the exorbitant interest rates, local farmers have been financially excluded.
Akik cultural practice and customs in some area attribute garden work to the woman and the children and free the strongest member of the family of any farm work.
Primitive farming techniques
The majority of the farmers still use the hand hoe as the main agriculture tool, rely on rain, use poor yield seeds, spray with brooms or knapsacks, harvest with sickles and knives and store food in granaries. These tools cannot deliver sustainable food security and commercial agriculture.
Subsistence farming, Land fragmentation, bush burning, primitive farming techniques, The government, and Non – government organizations have mobilized rural small scale farmers into Village Farmer Groups (VLG) where training and sensitization are done on the best farming practices and benefits of farming in groups. In some cases, the high yielding seed is provided and trained extension workers are assigned to these groups. The missing link is for these VFG to have access to tractors to facilitate the land ploughing, planting, weeding, and harvesting. The government and donors have provided regional tractor that has for many times failed due to political reasons and poor management. With tractor present there will be no need for bush burning as tractors do not need a cleared field to be able to plough, Tractors will be an incentive for group farming as they work better with large chunks of land, More yield will be realized with group farming and local farmers will enjoy economies of scale and bigger leverage to negotiate better prices for their produce
Swamp reclamation, overfishing, charcoal burning
With the introduction of VFG and tractors, rice farmers, charcoal burners and fishermen will have profitable alternatives in farming. With profits attained from farming, fish farming can be introduced to the farmer to counter overfishing
Child labour Gender inequalities
The most labour intensive and time sensitive farm activity in a local garden is ploughing and weeding. This activity will be executed by a tractor. So kids can go to school on time. In VFG distribution is per member not per family, this ensures equal member participation so farm work can no longer be assigned to the woman alone.
The government is implementing a plantation farming drive by distributing free tree seedlings and issuing permits to the public to grow the tree in gazetted forest reserves. Tractors can greatly leverage on this program by providing cheaper services in digging tree holes and clearing bushes