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Food Crop Production Up Despite Climate Change

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By John Masaba

The production of many food crops in the country has recorded an increase, giving a boost to the country’s food security.

The findings are contained in a government report titled ‘Annual Agriculture Survey 2020 (AAS)’ which was launched by agriculture state minister Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, on Friday, November 18, at Statistics House in Kampala.

Started in 2017, the AAS survey is designed and developed by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).

It is a culmination of four rounds of data collection per year (two in each season) on a sample of approximately 7,000 agricultural households in Uganda.

Production up

Maize, beans, bananas, cassava, sorghum, sweet potatoes, simsim, Irish potatoes and groundnuts all recorded an increase in production, posting an increase of between 6 and 65%.

Maize grossed a total production of 3.5 million metric tonnes, which was a 27.2% increase, and beans reached 670,000 metric tonnes, which was a 31% increase.

The highest maize-producing areas included Buganda South, Bunyoro and Buganda. Total production of bananas, majority of which was produced in Ankole (3.3 million metric tonnes) and South Buganda (2.2 million metric tonnes), stood at 11.1 million metric tonnes.

This is an increase of 18%. Cassava (most of which was produced in West Nile), 1.7 million metric tonnes; sweet potato (Busoga and North Buganda), 1.2 million metric tonnes, and groundnuts (Teso and Bunyoro) also showed remarkable increments in production of 37%.

Yields per acre

The increase in production is attributed to the increase in acreages of crop planted and increase in yields per hectare in the 2019 planting year.

A yield is the total weight of harvest per hectare of crop planted. Yields are, among others, determined by the weather, quality of seed used and the quality of soils.

According to the report, maize showed the biggest increase in yields, jumping from 1.6 million metric tonnes per hectare in 2019 to 2.2 million metric tonnes per hectare in 2020.

Rice, sweet potatoes and beans also recorded good yields, although coffee (robusta and Arabica) and cassava showed declines in yields.

The objective of the survey is to provide high quality and timely agricultural data on priority core macro and micro development indicators pertaining the performance of agriculture sector, as well as indicators on crop, livestock and environment interaction for better agricultural policy making.

More work

Kyakulaga who hailed the report, but said production is still lower than the ministry’s projections, said government is setting up agriculture mechanisation centres in each of the 18 former districts of Uganda before Independence.

“We have already set up at Namalere, Mpigi, Kiruhura and Mbale, and are about to start work in Busoga soon,” he said.

“We are going to equip the centres with modern machinery that individuals cannot acquire. We are also going to put in place workshops in each locality to maintain them and train staff.”

The GDP ratio of agriculture to Uganda’s economy currently stands at 24%.

The sector is, however, bedevilled by low levels of productivity, which experts say is due to many factors, including dependence on rudimentary technology.

This year’s report was released as part of events to commemorate the Africa Statistics Day.

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