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Uganda’s Maize Production Increases

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By Joshua Kato

Production of maize has increased over the years with an increasee in commercial production attributed partially to increased adoption of improved maize varieties by farmers.

Whereas maize is predominantly a staple food crop, it’s also an important cash crop contributing to household incomes & national export earnings.

Maize production statistics based on district returns to UBOS show a steady increase overtime from 1.17 million metric tons (MT) in 2001 to about 2.55 million MT in 2011 and 4.55 million MT in 2020. This is attributed to a steady increase in acreage due to expansion of maize production, increased use of improved seed, and use of fertilizers especially by commercial farmers.

It is worth noting that due to Uganda’s favourable weather, farmers in most parts of the country can grow maize in two seasons.

NAADS has made a tremendous contribution towards the increase in production through the distribution of improved maize seed to the farmers. The Central region and Bunyoro are the leading producers of maize in the country, according to the 2020 UBOS agriculture statistics report. The survey pointed out that at least 2.8million tons were produced in 2019. In the Central region, maize is mainly grown in Mubende, Kiboga and parts of Mityana, Kasanda and Luwero while in Bunyoro, maize is grown in Kakumiro, Kiryandongo and Hoima districts. It is not surprising that Mubende has perhaps the largest number of maize processing facilities for any upcountry area, targeting maize from Mubende, Kakumiro, Kasanda, Hoima etc.

However, the report says that most of the maize in the country is sold without any value addition.

“About 63% of the maize is sold without being processed,” the report says. According to Khadija Nakakande, in Charge of Communications at NAADS, a new mill in Mende, Wakiso is one of several modern mills handed out to farmers across the country.

“We have a similar mill in Kiryandongo and plans to install others are underway,” she says.

The Wakiso unit cost sh130m. The beneficiaries co-fund the projects by providing land for the mills and management of the property.  In nearly all his Presidential addresses, President Yoweri Museveni has lamented at the practice of selling raw, unprocessed maize. However, farmers think that if more of these small-scale processing units are set up, then this challenge will be solved.

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