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Banana growth up 2.7% in Uganda

Bananas locally known as matooke registered a 2.7% growth in the fiscal year 2010/2011. This remains the major food crop for Uganda followed by cassava and sweet potatoes. According to Uganda's financial year 2011/2012 budget analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers limited (PWC), the subsectors growth is attributed to the huge investments made in the agricultural sector during the fiscal year. "US $13 million funding by the World Bank in research targeting food crops, high value non staple foods and agro-biodiversity is evidence for focus on the sector," reads the report. The report indicates that enhancement of agricultural production and productivity through investment in infrastructure and increased agricultural investment to more districts led to the growth of the sub sector.

The sector continues to grow with the focus on diversification of the agricultural export base and subsidization of interest rates in respect to lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's) through facilities like the Agricultural credit facility.
However the analysis highlights the major challenges to the sector which if worked upon could lead to the rapid growth of the plantain sub sector and agriculture at large. "Continued dependence on increasingly unpredictable weather pattern for crop production, low adoption of mechanized farming and failure to manage producer prices especially in periods of bumper harvest when demands outstrips supply depresses producer prices which the sector continues to face," a section of the report reads. While addressing journalists in a media training workshop, Mr. Francis Kamulegeya the country senior partner with PWC said that the government however proposed to allocate Ushs437 billion to this sector an increase compared to the 2010/2011 allocation of Ushs 366 billion.

"Government proposed a number of incentives to address the challenges that are within its control and these are expected to create a positive medium term impact on the sector," explained Kamulegeya. In recognition of the predominantly manual nature of subsistence farming as well as the fact that most of the hoes used for tilling are imported, the report indicates that government proposed to reduce the import duty on hoes to 0% from 10%. Kamulegeya highlighted areas that still require intervention to address challenges facing the sector. "Incentives to encourage mechanization, measures to boost the adoption of large scale commercial farming, incentives to encourage mechanization and ways of strengthening agricultural extension services provided by organizations such as NAADS remain unaddressed," Kamulegeya revealed.


Publication date: 8/16/2011


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