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Experts Say Oil Seeds Could Transform Uganda’s Agriculture

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Experts Say Oil Seeds Could Transform Uganda's Agriculture
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Agriculture experts believe that oil seeds could become Uganda’s new economic opportunity. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is working on a National Oil Seeds Project (NOSP) in 81 districts to boost oil seed production and reduce the need for imported vegetable oil.

Mr. Christopher Gumisiriza, the project coordinator for the NOSP, mentioned that they are encouraging farmers to dedicate approximately 960,000 acres of land for oil seed cultivation. This initiative aims to yield around 480,000 metric tonnes of oil seeds annually.

The private sector in the oil seed industry has already established 113 mills. With increased production and productivity, the NOSP mill utilization is expected to rise from the current 45 percent to 85 percent.

The government is planning to enhance the efficiency of farm operations by improving the agricultural extension system and providing a farm service promotion scheme, including tractors and medium-scale production equipment.

The NOSP project intends to support approximately 350,000 households in six sub-regions across 81 districts. Farmers will also gain access to high-quality production inputs such as seeds, seedlings, and fertilizers. The project, which runs from July 2021 to July 2028, includes the development of local seed businesses and the provision of medium and small-scale irrigation schemes.

Farmers are optimistic about the project’s potential benefits. Mr. Steven Cherop, a farmer from Kapchorwa District, expressed his hope that the project would improve the value of their farm products. He believes that the oil seed project could benefit the intended beneficiaries.

Another farmer, Mr. Christopher Wamboka from Kapchorwa District, called for increased government investment in the agriculture sector to enhance food security and generate additional family income. He believes that the oil seed project could provide additional income opportunities for farmers in the region.

The National Oil Seeds Project is funded by various partners, including the government of Uganda, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the OPEC fund for International Development, Heifer International, and the Kuehne Foundation. Uganda continues to rely on the agriculture sector as a primary source of employment for over 70 percent of the population and contributes to more than 80 percent of exports.