Beatrice Byarugaba, Commissioner Crop Production and Marketing

I am Beatrice Byarugaba, the Commissioner Crop production & marketing of Ministry of Agriculture. I am representing the Minister of State for Agriculture who is upcountry for other duties. I am delighted to welcome you to this workshop to validate the Stakeholders’ views on the Draft National Fertilizer Strategy that has been developed through a wide consultative process with different organizations that are Stakeholders as far as this strategy is concerned.

Uganda’s soils have been mined of nutrients for a long time without replenishment. It is estimated that the annual nutrient depletion stands at an average of 87 kgs of nutrient per hectare per year: 38 kgs of Nitrogen; 17 kgs of Phosphorous and 32 kgs of Potassium.

The Nutrient mining is a result of continuous over cropping, over grazing, and removal of crop residues for other uses such as thatch and wood fuel; and soil erosion, which all have conspired to diminish the fertility of the soils.

As a result of diminishing soil fertility, crop yields are low at about 30% of the potential.  This translates into reduced food security and declining farmers’ incomes. To reverse the trend of low and declining soil fertility, the Government is taking deliberate actions to support the availability and use of fertilizers, both organic and in organic, by all categories of farmers.

The target is to increase the rate of use of fertilizers to at least 50 kgs of nutrient per hectare per year, within the next five years, and eventually reach the recommended average of 200 kg of nutrient per hectare per year. This translates into 250,000 MT of nutrient for the 5 million hectares of cultivated land within the next five years, and eventually 1 million MT to achieve the 200 kgs of nutrient per hectare. Currently only 50,000 MT of fertilizer products are imported.

Through a consultative process, the Government has formulated the National Fertilizer Policy; drafted the National Fertilizer Strategy that is being validated today and drafted the National Fertilizer Regulations.

These efforts are aimed at putting in place an enabling framework for enhanced availability and use of fertilizers in Uganda. The framework provides for actions to address the constraints on both the supply and demand sides of the fertilizer market in Uganda.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our job today is to critically examine the Draft Fertilizer Strategy and validate the draft that contains views of various stakeholders in agriculture and the value chain of the fertilizer market.

I implore you to critically examine the Draft Fertilizer Strategy so that we come up with a Fertilizer Strategy that will set a stage for sustainable availability, access, affordability and use of fertilizers by all categories of farmers.

I thank you for sparing time to come and share your views on the Draft Fertilizer Strategy.
I thank you for listening to me.
I declare this validation workshop officially opened.

For God and My Country.

Beatrice Byarugaba, the Commissioner Crop production & marketing of Ministry of Agriculture, representing the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, November 2013, Kampala

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