The Uganda Budget for 2019/2020 shows steady progress
Minister Kasaija: The Uganda Budget for 2019/2020 shows steady progress in the Agriculture sector.

In presenting the Uganda Budget for 2019/2020 to Parliament on March 28, 2019, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija said the government provided Shs. 1.054.6 Billions to promote the Agriculture Sector for the next financial year.

Minister Kasaija pin pointed out with the theme “Industrialization for Job Creation and Shared Prosperity” that the government’s attempts to modernize and commercialize agriculture have beneficial results.

According to Kasaija, the volumes and value of export of strategic commodities registered notable improvements with coffee export volumes in 2018 increasing by 6% to 4.5 million bags valued at US$ 492 million as compared to the 4.2 million valued at US$ 490 million exported in 2017.

Oil palm production in Kalangala in 2018 also increased by 55% to 37,800 Tons valued at Shs. 21.4 billion compared to the 2016 production of 24,300 Tons valued at Shs. 13.4 Billion. Milk production in 2018 increased by 19% from 2.1 billion litres in 2015 to 2.5 billion litres in 2018.

The volume of fish exports also increased by 27%. The support to fisheries enforcement interventions by the UPDF led to the opening of four fish factories – Gomba in Jinja, Iftra in Kampala, Marine and Agro in Jinja and Ngege in Kampala. With the established production capacity for all these factories totaling to 330 tons per day.

In reference to the budget, in a bid to improve on agriculture, the government has enabled distribution of key planting, breeding and stocking materials including the establishment of almost 110,000 acres of citrus orange and 144,000 acres of mango.

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22,000 acres of tea in the sub-zones of Kigezi, Ankole, Rwenzori, Mubende, West Nile and Bunyoro and 16,500 acres of cocoa. With the multiplication of beef and dairy cattle, cows, pigs and poultry, breeding and genetic growth persisted.

Furthermore, it has also enabled the construction of four medium sized irrigation schemes at Agoro (650ha) in Lamwo, Doho I (1000ha) in Butaleja, Mubuku I (516ha) in Kasese and Olweny (600ha) in Lira district.

Construction of the major irrigation schemes have progressed and are at different stages of completion- Doho II in Butaleja (48.6%); Mubuku II in Kasese (22.5%); Wadelai in Nebbi District (18.2%); Torchi in Oyam District (57%); Ngenge in Kween District (54.1%); and Rwengaaju in Kabarole district (50%).

In reference to the 2019/2020 Uganda Budget, Minister Kasaija identified that government completed construction of ten small scale irrigation systems at Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) at Pallisa, Bukedea, Katakwi, Tororo, Kamuli, Bugiri, Soroti, Abim, Kaabong and Mayuge Districts.

These will benefit 300 registered farmer groups. Kasaija also identified that government has enabled the construction of solar-powered irrigation systems at seven more Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institutes (ZARDIs) at Bulindi, Rwebitaba, Abi, Buginyanya, Nabiun, Mukono and Ngetta are being finalised.

In addition, 15 small-scale irrigation solar water pump systems have been created in 13 districts of Katakwi, Kamuli, Bukedea, Buikwe, Kayunga, Mpigi, Lyantonde, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Kamwenge, Rubirizi and Mukono.

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Furthermore, regional mechanization centres were opened in the south-western region of Buwama and the north-eastern region of Agwata and several valley tanks were built / rehabilitated in the country-wide drought-prone and cattle corridor districts.

This improved the number of farmers accessing and utilizing water for irrigation, aquaculture and livestock from 5% to 8%. Two hundred and eighty (280) tractors were distributed to farmers to further boost mechanization.

In addition, the Agriculture Credit Facility cumulatively disbursed Shs. 332 billion by 31st March, 2019, to finance 551 eligible projects which enabled borrowers to establish large capacity agro-processing facilities, expand grain trade and investment in warehousing and expanding farm infrastructure.

Minister Kasaija pointed out that inorder to support commercialization of Agriculture, various key priority actions will be implemented in the forthcoming Uganda budget. Notably, provision of storage facilities and linking farmers to agro-processing facilities to support agro-industrialisation. Post-harvest facilities will be built in Bunyangabu, Kibuku, Kumi, Kyenjojo, Ntoroko and Nakaseke districts.

Notably, provision of storage facilities and linking farmers to agro-processing facilities to support agro-industrialisation. Post-harvest facilities will be built in Bunyangabu, Kibuku, Kumi, Kyenjojo, Ntoroko and Nakaseke districts.

In addition, the delivery of quality inputs and services including seed and planting materials, mechanization, fertilizer, agricultural credit and extension services will be considered as well as provision of irrigation infrastructure, both at large scale such as the Wadelai, Torchi, Mobuku ll, Doho ll and Ngenge projects.

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In the 2019/ 2020 Uganda budget, the government will also ensure provision of small-scale solar powered irrigation systems for last mile irrigation, construction of five micro irrigation schemes in Alebtong, Kabarole, Katakwi, Ntoroko and Gomba, under the Local Economic Growth Support (LEGS) project.

Furthermore, it will strengthen inputs and product standards certification to improve production and enhance the quality of products to enable market access both regionally and internationally.

Government will also continue enforcement of rules and regulations on major water bodies to prevent overfishing and promote sustainable capture fishing and aquaculture.

Meanwhile, government will enhance agricultural research and development in new crop varieties for national strategic commodities including coffee, maize, beans, cassava, rice, cotton, oilseed and cocoa. It will also undertake research in pest and disease control, including efficacy trials for three new acaricides namely Vectoclor, Bantick, and Eprinometim.

Although the Uganda budget is centered on tackling these issues, however Minister Kasaija mentioned that there are still some major development challenges like unemployment, income inequality and malnutrition and unhealthy lifestyles that also need to be worked on.

By John Dalton Kigozi