Uganda`s Agricultural Sector Through the Ages
Uganda`s earliest history comprises her time before the territory that is today Uganda was made into a British protectorate at the end of the 19th century. This small country in Eastern Africa has Paleolithic evidence of human activity that goes back to at least 50,000 years, and perhaps as far as 100,000 years, as shown by the Acheulean stone tools recovered from the former environs of Lake Victoria, which were exposed along the Kagera River valley, mainly around Nsonezi. Rock art in Uganda, particularly in the eastern part of the country, attests to occupation during the later stone age as well. Uganda’s position along the central African Rift Valley, its favourable climate at an altitude of 1,200 meters and above, and reliable rainfall around the Lake Victoria Basin made it attractive to African cultivators and herders as early as the fourth century BCE. Because of this, the region was divided between several closely related kingdoms. Core samples from the bottom of Lake Victoria have revealed that dense rainforest once covered the land around the lake. Centuries of cultivation removed almost all the original tree cover. The Bantu expansion: The earliest human inhabitants in Uganda were hunter-gathers. Remnants of these people are today to be found among the pygmies in western Uganda. Approximately 2000 to 1500 years ago, Bantu speaking populations from central and western Africa migrated and occupied most of the southern parts of the country. The migrants brought with them agriculture, ironworking skills perfecting iron smelting to produce medium grade carbon steel in pre-heated forced-draft furnaces and new ideas of social and political organization, that by the 15th – 16th century resulted in the development of centralized kingdoms, including the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara and Ankole. These cultivators also raised goats and chickens, and they probably kept some cattle by 400 BCE. Their knowledge of agriculture and use of iron-forging technology permitted them to clear the land and feed ever larger numbers of settlers. They displaced small bands of indigenous hunter-gatherers, who relocated to the less accessible mountains
Uganda`s earliest history comprises her time before the territory that is today Uganda was made into a British protectorate at the end of the 19th century. This small country in Eastern Africa has Paleolithic evidence of human activity that goes back to at least 50,000 years, and perhaps as far as 100,000 years, as shown […]
As the Bantu-speaking agriculturists of the Uganda area spread and multiplied over the centuries, they evolved a form of government by clan chiefs. This kinship-organized system was useful for coordinating work projects, settling internal disputes, and carrying out religious observances to clan deities, but it could effectively govern only a limited number of people. Larger polities began to form states towards the end of the first millennium CE, some of which would ultimately govern over a million subjects each. More extensive and improved cultivation of bananas (high-yield crops that allowed for permanent cultivation and settlements) by Bantu groups between 300 and 1200 CE helped this process. Nilotic speaking pastoralists who lived in the more arid and less fertile North were mobile and ready to resort to arms in defence of their cattle or in raids to appropriate the cattle of others. But their political organization was less, based on kinship and decisions by kin-group elders. In the meeting of cultures, they may have acquired the ideas and symbols of political chiefship from the Bantu speakers, to whom they could offer military protection, and with whose elites they sometimes joined and intermarried. It is theorized a system of patron-client relationships developed, whereby a pastoral elite emerged, entrusting the care of cattle to subjects who used the manure to improve the fertility of their increasingly overworked gardens and fields.
As the Bantu-speaking agriculturists of the Uganda area spread and multiplied over the centuries, they evolved a form of government by clan chiefs. This kinship-organized system was useful for coordinating work projects, settling internal disputes, and carrying out religious observances to clan deities, but it could effectively govern only a limited number of people. Larger […]
Inhabitants of early areas in current Uganda were pre-dominantly hunter gatherers but their society slowly evolved into one of domestic farming especially in the Southern part of the country while the Northern Part of the country was dominated by pastoralists and nomads. Families owned land and they tilled and cultivated it with the families. As the cultures of Uganda were all patrilineal and polygamous, families depended on their large family networks to cultivate the land and produce food crops to feed their familes. In addition, families also tended to domestic animals like cattle, goats, sheep, chicken and ducks. Farming of both crops and animals was mainly done for domestic consumption and only surplus was traded on market days with other families and communities in the form of barter trade where one family exchanged an item they had for one they didn’t have. Communities mainly exchanges crops and animals.
Inhabitants of early areas in current Uganda were pre-dominantly hunter gatherers but their society slowly evolved into one of domestic farming especially in the Southern part of the country while the Northern Part of the country was dominated by pastoralists and nomads. Families owned land and they tilled and cultivated it with the families. As […]
The domestic nature of agriculture changed after Uganda was declared a British Protectorate. The Protectorate of Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire from 1894 to 1962. In 1893 the Imperial British East Africa Company transferred its administration rights of territory consisting mainly of the Kingdom of Buganda to the British government. In 1894 the Uganda Protectorate was established, and the territory was extended beyond the borders of Buganda to an area that roughly corresponds to that of present-day Uganda. In many areas of Uganda, by contrast, agricultural production was placed in the hands of Africans, if they responded to the opportunity. Cotton cultivation increased in importance after 1904, and once it became clear that cotton plantations would be too difficult and expensive to maintain, official policy encouraged smallholder farmers to produce and market their cotton through local cooperative associations. Cotton was the crop of choice, largely because of pressure by the British Cotton Growing Association, textile manufacturers who urged the colonies to provide raw materials for British mills. This was done by cash cropping the land. Even the CMS joined the effort by launching the Uganda Company (managed by a former missionary) to promote cotton planting and to buy and transport the produce. By 1910 cotton had become Uganda’s leading export. In the following decades, the government encouraged the growth of sugar and tea plantations. Following World War II, officials introduced coffee cultivation to bolster declining export revenues, and coffee soon earned more than half of Uganda’s export earnings
The domestic nature of agriculture changed after Uganda was declared a British Protectorate. The Protectorate of Uganda was a protectorate of the British Empire from 1894 to 1962. In 1893 the Imperial British East Africa Company transferred its administration rights of territory consisting mainly of the Kingdom of Buganda to the British government. In 1894 […]
The British cash crops urgently needed efficient transportation means and this need led to the construction of the Uganda Railway. By the 1890s, 32,000 laborers from British India were recruited to East Africa under indentured labour contracts to construct the Uganda Railway. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, but 6,724 decided to remain in East Africa after the line’s completion. Subsequently, some became traders and took control of the large scale farms, cotton ginning and sartorial retail. All major cash crops introduced in Uganda by the British like cotton, coffee, tobacco, tea and minerals like copper were all transported from Uganda using the Uganda Railway. The railway network was also the all-important golden thread that wove the East African Community together to become economically codependent on each other.
The British cash crops urgently needed efficient transportation means and this need led to the construction of the Uganda Railway. By the 1890s, 32,000 laborers from British India were recruited to East Africa under indentured labour contracts to construct the Uganda Railway. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, but 6,724 decided to remain in […]
The British in search of cheaper agricultural inputs into their industries especially after the 2nd world war greatly turned to fertile Uganda to provide the much needed raw materials. However, they needed to defragment the land and create political harmony over the defragmented land to be able to grow her raw materials safely. During the division of land for Agricultural Production in the 1900s, the colonial government in Uganda accepted, that each ‘tribal’ group had its defined territory to be kept exclusively for use by that one tribe. However, because the Baganda allied with the British in the colonial wars at the end of the nineteenth century, the boundaries of Buganda`s ‘tribal’ land were extended at the expense of Bunyoro, whose government had opposed the British occupation. Also, ‘tribal’ lands were to be held by the tribe in common except in Buganda where a unique pattern of distribution was put into effect. The aid given to the British by the majority of the Baganda leaders was of such great importance in establishing British occupation that a treaty was drawn up between the two parties. The Buganda Agreement of 1900 not only defined the political relationship between the British colonial government and the Buganda rulers but also set out the way in which land was to be distributed, thus ensuring that Britain’s principal supporters in the area should benefit. Under the terms of the Agreement, 9003 square miles of land (roughly half of what the British regarded as Ganda territory) were to be allocated to the Kabaka and about a thousand chiefs with freehold. This freehold land came to be known as mailo land, a Luganda version of the English term, square miles. The remainder was to be regarded as British Crown Land, held in trust for the Baganda, but to be alienated if the colonial government so wished. The aim of this land distribution was first, to ensure that all the leaders of Buganda would have an incentive to support British political domination and secondly, to ensure political stability throughout Buganda. In practice, settlement was not as straightforward as it had appeared to be on paper. A major difficulty was the determination of who exactly was entitled to land under the terms of the Agreement. By 1907 there were 6000 claimants where originally there had been 1000. Two important consequences followed from the mailo distribution. The first was that Baganda landowners developed their properties along capitalist farming lines. They were able to do so because they were now assured of permanent ownership of their land and could, if they wished, buy and sell land to other Baganda. (A non-Muganda required permission from the Governor and from the Lukiiko before he could purchase land in Buganda.) Baganda farmers were therefore able to grow an annual cash crop and to improve their holdings without fear of alienation or of redistribution
The British in search of cheaper agricultural inputs into their industries especially after the 2nd world war greatly turned to fertile Uganda to provide the much needed raw materials. However, they needed to defragment the land and create political harmony over the defragmented land to be able to grow her raw materials safely. During the […]
Buganda, with its strategic location on the lakeside, reaped the benefits of cotton growing. The advantages of this crop were quickly recognized by the Buganda chiefs who had newly acquired freehold estates, which came to be known as mailo land because they were measured in square miles. In 1905 the initial baled cotton export was valued at £200; in 1906, £1,000; in 1907; £11,000; and in 1908, £52,000. By 1915 the value of cotton exports had climbed to £369,000, and Britain was able to end its subsidy of colonial administration in Uganda, while in Kenya the white settlers required continuing subsidies by the home government. The income generated by cotton sales made the Uganda but more particularly Buganda kingdom relatively more prosperous, compared to the rest of colonial Uganda, although before World War I cotton was also being grown in the eastern regions of Busoga, Lango, and Teso. Many Baganda spent their new earnings on imported clothing, bicycles, metal roofing, even cars and many also invested in their children’s education. The Christian missions emphasized literacy skills, and African converts quickly learned to read and write. By 1911 two popular journals, Ebifa (News) and Munno (Your Friend), were published monthly in Luganda. The Rise of Cooperatives: From the 1950s until independence in 1962, British Colonial Office policy encouraged the development of co-operatives for subsistence farmers to partially convert to selling their crops: principally coffee, cotton, tobacco, and maize. David Gordon Hines (1915–2000) (as Commissioner of Co-operatives from 1959 to independence in 1962 and then as a civil servant until 1965) developed the movement by encouraging eventually some 500,000 farmers to join co-operatives. He, as an accountant, plus a team of 20 (British) District Co-operative Officers and some 400 Ugandans established the constitution and accounting procedures of each co-operative. They ran courses at a co-operative college in Kampala; settled disputes; established a co-operative bank; and developed marketing in a population that largely had no experience of accounts and marketing. Each co-operative had 100 to 150 farmer members who elected their own committees. In each political district, there was a co-operative “union” which built stores and, eventually, with government money, processing factories: cotton ginneries, tobacco dryers, and maize mills. The number of farmers involved rose exponentially as the co-operatives made the profits that the Asian traders had previously made. The roads, other infrastructure and security were better in this colonial period than in the late 1900s, so allowing relatively efficient transport and marketing of agricultural products. Uganda enjoyed a strong and stable economy in the years approaching independence. Agriculture was the dominant activity, but the expanding manufacturing sector appeared capable of increasing its contribution to GDP, especially through the production of foodstuffs and textiles. Some valuable minerals, notably copper, had been discovered, and water power resources were substantial. In 1967 Uganda and the neighboring countries of Kenya and Tanzania joined together to form the East African Community (EAC), hoping to create a common market and share the cost of transport and banking facilities, and Uganda registered impressive growth rates for the first eight years after independence
Buganda, with its strategic location on the lakeside, reaped the benefits of cotton growing. The advantages of this crop were quickly recognized by the Buganda chiefs who had newly acquired freehold estates, which came to be known as mailo land because they were measured in square miles. In 1905 the initial baled cotton export was […]
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, due to the poor leadership of Presidents Dr. Milton Obote and Gen Idi Amin Dada, there was widespread political insecurity, mismanagement, and a lack of adequate resources seriously eroded incomes from commercial agriculture. Production levels in general were lower in the 1980s than in the 1960s. Technological improvements had been delayed by economic stagnation, and agricultural production still used primarily unimproved methods of production on small, widely scattered farms, with low levels of capital outlay. Other problems facing farmers included the disrepair of the nation’s roads, the nearly destroyed marketing system, increasing inflation, and low producer prices. These factors contributed to low volumes of export commodity production and a decline in per capita food production and consumption in the late 1980s. The decline in agricultural production, if sustained, posed major problems in terms of maintaining export revenues and feeding Uganda’s expanding population. Despite these serious problems, agriculture continued to dominate the economy
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, due to the poor leadership of Presidents Dr. Milton Obote and Gen Idi Amin Dada, there was widespread political insecurity, mismanagement, and a lack of adequate resources seriously eroded incomes from commercial agriculture. Production levels in general were lower in the 1980s than in the 1960s. Technological improvements had been […]
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assumed power in early 1986 after over throwing Tito Lutwa Okello. After seizing power in January 1986, the new NRM government published a political manifesto that had been drawn up when the NRM was an army of antigovernment rebels. Several points in the Ten-Point Program emphasized the importance of economic development, declaring that an independent, self-sustaining national economy was vital to protect Uganda’s interests. The manifesto also set out specific goals for achieving this self-sufficiency: diversifying agricultural exports and developing industries that used local raw materials to manufacture products necessary for development. The Ten-Point Program also set out other economic goals: to improve basic social services, such as water, health care, and housing; to improve literacy skills nationwide; to eliminate corruption, especially in government; to return expropriated land to its rightful Ugandan owners; to raise public-sector salaries; to strengthen regional ties and develop markets among East African nations; and to maintain a mixed economy combining private ownership with an active government sector. The NRM government proposed a major Rehabilitation and Development Plan (RDP) for fiscal years (FY) 1987-88 through 1990-91, with IMF support; it then devalued the shilling and committed itself to budgetary restraint. The four-year plan set out primarily to stabilize the economy and promote economic growth. More specific goals were to reduce Uganda’s dependence on external assistance, diversify agricultural exports, and encourage the growth of the private sector through new credit policies. Setting these priorities helped improve Uganda’s credentials with international aid organizations and donor countries of the West, but in the first three years of Museveni’s rule, coffee production remained the only economic activity inside Uganda to display consistent growth and resilience. When coffee-producing nations failed to reach an agreement on prices for coffee exports in 1989, Uganda faced devastating losses in export earnings and sought increased international assistance to stave off economic collapse. In the late 1980s, agriculture (in the monetary and nonmonetary economy) contributed about two-thirds of GDP, 95 percent of export revenues, and 40 percent of government revenues. Roughly 20 percent of regular wage earners worked in commercial agricultural enterprises, and an additional 60 percent of the work force earned some income from farming. Agricultural output was generated by about 2.2 million small-scale producers on farms with an average of 2.5 hectares of land. The 1987 RDP called for efforts both to increase production of traditional cash crops, including coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco, and to promote the production of nontraditional agricultural exports, such as corn, beans, groundnuts (peanuts), soybeans, sesame seeds, and a variety of fruit and fruit products. Over President Museveni`s 35-year reign on Uganda, Agriculture has been proven to have great potential to contribute to sustainable and broad-based economic development in Uganda. The fact that the majority of Ugandans derive their livelihoods from agriculture and that the country’s foreign exchange earnings are predominantly agriculture-based reflect the importance of the sector. After the sector declined between 1971 and 1986, agriculture started to recover responding to new policies and increased stability in the country. Growth of agricultural GDP averaged 6 percent between 1989 – 1999 for monetary agriculture and 2 percent for non-monetary agriculture. Between 2000 and 2004 and these growth rates narrowed, with growth in monetary agriculture falling to 5 percent per year, and non-monetary agriculture rising to 3.5 percent per year. Within monetary agriculture, performance of the cash crops sub-sector has been volatile, averaging an annual growth rate of 9 percent from 1989-1999 and then just 3 percent from 2000-2004. The slowdown in cash crops is due mainly to the decline in export prices, particularly for coffee. Growth in agricultural GDP has been achieved through expansion in the area cultivated. Yields per unit area have remained more or less constant except for cereals which increased by 34 percent between 1996 and 1999, but flattened out thereafter. This is due to a number of factors including: reliance on manual labour (which accentuates labour constraints and results in low areas cultivated); poor farm management, limited access to inputs and low technology adoption, and low crop diversification. By 2020 GDP from Agriculture in Uganda had increased to 9715.32 UGX Billion by the third quarter of 2020. Compared to other African countries, Uganda has progressively created an environment that supports economic and agricultural growth, and the reduction of poverty. However, rising poverty after 1999, its concentration among farmers, and slow economic growth mainly as a result of a weaker performance in agriculture, provide cautionary signals that these goals will not be achieved unless constraints to widespread agricultural growth are addressed. Uganda`s resolve to turn the Agricultural Sector into a profitable sector for all Ugandan is reflected by the various project initiatives aimed at supporting local farmers and agriculturalists to establish and ran profitable agricultural ventures. Some of these initiatives include the National Agricultural Advisory (NAADs), Uganda Multi-Sector Food Security and Nutrition Initiative, National Oil Palm Project (NOPP), Banana Livelihood Diversification project (est. 2015) Regional Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project (RPLRP) Meat Export Support Service Project Promotion of Rice Development Project among others. Uganda’s main food crops are plantains/ bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes, Irish Potatoes, millet, sorghum, corn, beans, peas and groundnuts. Major cash crops have been coffee, cotton, tea, cocoa, vanilla and tobacco, although to this day many farmers sell food crops to meet short-term expenses. Uganda also has a strong animal & fish industry that primarily focuses on Beef and Dairy Cattle, Fish, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Chicken and Ducks. Uganda’s favorable soil conditions and climate have contributed to the country’s agricultural success. Most areas of Uganda have usually received plenty of rain. In some years, small areas of the southeast and southwest have averaged more than 150 millimeters per month. In the north, there is often a short dry season in December and January. Temperatures vary only a few degrees above or below 20° C but are moderated by differences in altitude. These conditions have allowed continuous cultivation in the south but only annual cropping in the north, and the driest northeastern corner of the country has supported only pastoralism. Although population growth has created pressures for land in a few areas, land shortages have been rare, and with the country`s level of investment into growing the Agricultural sector and vying for its industrialisation it is expected that by 2030, the sector will begin to be fully optimized by the country
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni assumed power in early 1986 after over throwing Tito Lutwa Okello. After seizing power in January 1986, the new NRM government published a political manifesto that had been drawn up when the NRM was an army of antigovernment rebels. Several points in the Ten-Point Program emphasized the importance of economic development, […]
La Foret Gardens, Muyenga
Plot 3161 Bukasa Close, off Tank Hill Rd, Kampala