Top officials from Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) on November 13, 2018 received briefing on Fostering a Sustainable Agro-industrialization (AGI) Agenda in Uganda, a new research focus for Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).

Francis Mwesigye, a Research Fellow, and Madina Guloba, a Senior Research Fellow at EPRC made the briefing during a meeting convened at OWC main offices in Kampala and chaired by Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, the Deputy OWC.

AGI approach is based on evidence and it is now used to guide operationalization of the Ministry of Finance’s Public Investment Management for Agro-industrialization (PIMA).

Mwesigye told the meeting that Uganda has invested on several efforts to transform the economy but hit a snag. He called for investment in agroindustry, which is the source of livelihoods for over 70 percent of Ugandans. “Industrializing agriculture is the winning kick,” he said.

According to Mwesigye, the quest for inclusive growth, ready market due to urbanization and growing middle class, clear forward and backward linkages and the need to upgrade export value chains from low to high value agro-products make agro industrialization an unavoidable doing.

Government has in recent years spearheaded initiatives aimed at supporting production. These include; pilot irrigation schemes and distribution of inputs, setting up of agro manufacturing industries such as the meat processing plant in Luweero and development of support marketing such as the warehouse receipt system.

PIMA Presentation to OWC November 13 2018 WS

However, Uganda’s agro-industrialization policy is not clear due to lack of prioritization within many priority commodities, uncoordinated, unsustainable and exports biased agro-industry initiatives.

In Chile and Malaysia, agro-industrialization has worked due to reliance on a specific model, which prioritizes fewer commodities and protects the selected agro-industries especially at infant stage.

Agro-products enjoy a positive trade balance generating USD 420 million in exports in 2017. This, researchers say, can be improved further through import replacement for edible oil, footwear, textiles and paper products,

According to Guloba, educating farmers on quality standards and climate adaptation, elimination of illicit agro input dealers and synchronization of efforts will work well in revitalizing agriculture.

OWC officials welcomed the new approach asking government to ensure that the model creates jobs for youths and doesn’t get jostled by corruption just like the previous programmes.

Related: Initial Findings of Agro-Industrialization Agenda Shared With MPs

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