Uganda loses 60 Kg of soil nutrients per hectare per year while fertilizer application is only 1-1.5 Kg per hectare per year, far below the recommended 50 Kg as per the Abuja Declaration.

In addition, the agriculture sector has continued to record a slow growth rate of 2.3 percent compared to 4 percent in industry and 12 percent in the service sector during the 2015-2016 period.

It is this low production and productivity in the agriculture sector, partly attributed to low fertilizer use that dominated discussion by researchers, academia and policy makers at the launch of the national fertilizer policy during the 6th Agricultural Forum organized by Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) on June 5, 2017 in Kampala.

The fertilizer policy is consistent with Government of Uganda’s overall development framework contained in Vision 2040 and the NDP II. The policy is also important for other policies, for instance, the National Seed Policy, the National Coffee Policy and the draft Agricultural Extension Policy.

Fetlizer policy launch

If properly implemented, the policy will lead to a competitive, profitable and sustainable fertiliser sub-sector contributing to food, income security and environmental health as well as build a fertiliser industry that provides affordable and accessible fertilisers to farmers.

During the forum that deliberated on whether Uganda's Agricultural Sector is at Crossroads, Ibrahim Kasirye the Principal Research Fellow EPRC, pointed out institutional challenges facing the agricultural sector.

He cited multiplicity of agencies, limited local government capacity, weak institutional linkages between Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and other Ministries, departments and agencies, over dependence on donor partners and dysfunctional inputs markets, which have resulted into, fake fertilizers being sold to farmers.

On the other hand, Dr. Swaibu Mbowa, a Senior Research Fellow at EPRC raised the opportunities that need to be tapped in order to transform the agriculture sector. He cited provision of adequate funding and staffing to the sector and MAAIF in order to facilitate crop protection and certification, seed multiplication and distribution and foster extension services in liaison with the private sector and other agencies like Operation Wealth Creation and NAADS.

 6 Afric forum

The panelist and participants too concurred that there was need to address the slow growth and contribution of the agricultural sector to the economy. They recommended review of the institutional structures and streamlining of the overlapping institutions, implementation of land zoning and land reforms, establishment of institutional linkages that enable technology innovation uptake as well as implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

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