The absence of high-quality and up-to-date data is making it difficult to plan for Uganda’s agricultural sector, according to experts.
“Data is essential for any kind of planning. Without data, there is no evidence, and decisions are based on guesswork. We need information on where to plant, how to plant, the number of people involved in agriculture, the country’s arable land, grain production, exports, and more. Without this data, we cannot effectively plan for the sector,” said Humphrey Mutaasa, a senior technical advisor at the Grain Council of Uganda.
Mutaasa expressed concern that the lack of reliable data is affecting decision-making in both parliament and the ministry. Conflicting reports about the percentage of the population engaged in agriculture create confusion. Additionally, potential investors lack crucial information about soil conditions, crop distribution, and other details.
The Integrated Grain Handling Project for rural communities in Uganda, launched by Access2innovation with support from DANIDA Market Development Partnerships and Danish partners BM Silo, Engsko, and Buurholt, along with Ugandan partners Ag Ploutus and Opportunity International, aims to address some of these challenges.
Mutaasa emphasized that reliable data would enable better development of the agriculture sector. For instance, knowing how many farmers grow maize in a specific area would streamline the purchasing process, preventing wasted resources.
He also pointed out the need for regulated trade in Uganda to prevent unscrupulous activities such as the acquisition of farmland by foreigners.
Henrik Anker-Ladefoged, the regional director for Access2innovation, stated that the four-year project would help tackle issues like aflatoxin contamination by providing drying facilities to farmers in rural areas. He emphasized the importance of organized farmer groups for effective investment and addressing various agricultural setbacks.
The program is designed to improve farmer yields, post-harvest grain quality, and livelihoods by facilitating access to quality value-added markets, offering support in areas such as harvest cleaning, drying, milling, seed cleaning, financial literacy training, and access to inputs and finance. It will also assist farmers in accessing financing for equipment and reaching output markets.