According to statistics, a variety of crops are produced for both domestic consumption and export, with the main emphasis falling on cereals such as maize, finger millet, sorghum, rice, pearl millet, and wheat. A farmer harvesting his maize. Photo/File KAMPALA – Industry experts and some investors have over the years considered Uganda to have the best agricultural potential among its African peers, because of its low variations in temperature and two rainy seasons per year.
This means the country can produce all year round on its 5.13 million hectares of arable fertile land, although only about 35% of the land is currently underused.
According to statistics, a variety of crops are produced for both domestic consumption and export, with the main emphasis falling on cereals such as maize, finger millet, sorghum, rice, pearl millet, and wheat.
Last year, approximately 6.8 million hectares of cereals were produced, out of which about 4.8million hectares was maize.
According to the Uganda Grain Council, more than 95% of the maize produced last year was locally consumed and the rest was sold to the World Food Program (WFP).
The bulk of the maize, according to the grain council, was milled in Kampala by more than 300 mills operating quite informally, each with the potential to mill an average of 10-15 metric tons per day.
The 300 mills, located mainly in downtown Kisenyi, had a combined output of 1.62million metric tons last year, the grain council said.
“These will buy anything at any price because they need raw materials for their mills. Unfortunately, their potential to turn the grain subsector into a multi-million dollar industry is still under looked by the government and bankers, and so it remains largely under-optimized,” said Chris Kaijuka, chairperson of the Uganda grain council.
This was during a recent engagement between the Development Finance Company of Uganda (BFCU) bank and commodity traders from across the country, at the Kampala Serena hotel.
Kaijuka said although financial institutions have of late began working with smallholder farmers; financial support is still needed across the entire value chain to boost production, innovation and stabilizing the market.
“As the grain council, we urge the banks to consider the entire value chain because even if the farmers are supported, but without a reliable market for their produce, it won’t work,” he said.He said over the years, they (grain council) have been encouraging their members to spread beyond Kampala, and build bulking centers which also act […]