In an effort to market Uganda as the leading destination for agricultural investors and source of farm products, the Government is set to participate in this year’s World Agricultural Expo.
The World Agricultural Expo is the largest annual agricultural expo and trade show in the world which gives attendees an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in modern agricultural practices, products, equipment and services.
The expo will be held at the International Agri-Centre in Tulare, California, on February 14-16, 2023.
In 2021 alone, the show had 98,387 attendees from 49 states of the US and 34 countries, with more than 1,200 exhibitors and 157 registered media on 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space.
The office of the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, is working with Damiano Kigoye, the managing director of the Uganda Business Resource Centre in Los Angeles, to co-ordinate the delegation of government officials and policy makers, commercial farmers, and political leaders who will go and attend the expo.
Kigoye is also the director of development at the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA), the largest formal association of Ugandans in the diaspora.
The expo provides a platform for networking, education and business in one of the most productive agricultural counties in the US.
In addition to seminars, there will be different areas of interest such as tours of state-of-the-art farms, agri-processing, agricultural financing, modern methods of farming and irrigation, animal husbandry and robotic milking, modern bee farming, and farm equipment.
International attendees and dignitaries are expected to meet officials from the US commercial service and district export council among others.
“Focusing on Uganda’s urgent need of enhancing value addition to our agricultural products, and in reflection of Uganda Vision 2040, which aims at the transformation of Uganda’s society from peasantry to communal farming, this agricultural expo is a golden opportunity for our country to be represented,” Walusimbi said.
“The achievements will be enormously beneficial not just to our agricultural sector, but also in other sectors of trade and investment and ultimately will help to shape the global media narrative about Uganda’s agriculture.”
Investors consider Uganda’s agricultural potential to be among the best in Africa, according to international trade administration of the US. This is because of the low temperature variability, fertile soils, and two rainy seasons over much of the country — leading to multiple crop harvests per year.
According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, Uganda’s fertile agricultural land has the potential to feed 200 million people.
Eighty per cent of Uganda’s land is arable, but only 35% is being cultivated. In the financial year 2021/22, agriculture accounted for about 24.1% of GDP, and 33% of export earnings.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics estimates that about 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture. However, commercialisation of the sector is impeded by farmers’ limited use of fertilisers and quality seeds, and a lack of irrigation infrastructure — rendering production vulnerable to climatic extremes and pest infestations.
Sector growth is also impaired by the lack of quality packaging capabilities, insufficient storage facilities, poor post-harvest handling practices, shortage of agricultural credit, high freight costs, the lack of all-weather feeder roads in rural areas, a complicated and inefficient land tenure system, and limited knowledge of modern production practices.
Ugandan producers often find it difficult to meet the sanitary and phytosanitary standards required to export goods to Europe and the US.