Investing in Agriculture & Agri-Processing in Uganda.
Her presentation explored the business case for Agriculture and the related challenges and constraints for those seeking to invest in this industry.
Presentation by Hon Ruth Nankabirwa, Minister of State Fisheries
Hon Ruth Nakabirwa started by assuring investors that as the former minister of defence , Uganda is very safe, stable and no more insurgences in Northern Uganda. In all parts of Uganda you can enjoy the peace and security which is a major element for investors.
Uganda feeds her people and has the potential to be the fruit basket of the world.
Uganda has a unique agro economical location lying out right the equator and have both tropical and temperature climate. There is a rising demand in domestic regional and international markets for agricultural commodities. Uganda is a member of bigger markets, the East Africa community, COMESA and this indicates a vast market is there. The legal framework is in place, the micro-economic and macro-economic frameworks are very conducive for investment. There is also supportive research technology development in areas of plant and stocking materials for crops, livestock, fish and animal bio-technology which exist.
Available land is another opportunity for agriculture mechanisation with plenty of fresh water for irrigation, fish and farming.
Uganda has huge amount of fresh water inland Lake Victoria, Lake Albert and Lake Kyoga all these are suitable for agriculture.
Potential areas of investment includes Cotton, Cocoa, Coffee, and Tea. Also high returns can be realised on marketing and processing of instant Coffee, Chocolate and branding of Uganda Tea. The government has initiatives to boost the capacity of Coffee growth and also they are planting 100,000 seedling of Coffee per region.
Another sector is fruits and vegetables an area virgin for local regional and international market and processing by adding value is also another opportunity.
Floriculture is another opportunity especially providing packaging materials, green house facilities.
Grain which includes Maize, Rice, and Wheat can be processed into food and by-products like feeds for animals.
Honey processing is another opportunity, the local market is vibrant as people have discovered the benefit of taking honey rather than sugar.
Starch from Cassava and other by-products are also a good product if added value and packed for international market. Lord Sheikh talked about bananas and we need investors to take advantage and make products out of banana like banana wine, juice and banana fibre can be used for textiles.
Livestock, Uganda is producing only 1.8 billion litres of milk annually and this can double with your investment and there are huge opportunity in processing and adding value to the by-products. Uganda export animals to Sudan rather than exporting beef and have the by-products for other value addition.
Fishery sector presents vast opportunity, Uganda is now licensing investors to get plots on Lake Victoria to do cage farming and are encouraging establishment of aqua culture park, and this will be a village which will comprise of ponds, hatcheries and cold-rooms. This will enable those adding value to have a one stop point for their processing plants.
We need investors who can look beyond fish processing and set up plants to develop other by-products of fish like making Omega3 from our organic fish.
Uganda has a lot of challenges especially sustainability of quantity to international markets. Quality and international standards assurance are also a challenge. Inadequate flow of market and production information and lack of accessible finance to enable export facilities.
Hon Nakabirwa finally invited investors to Uganda to take advantage of the opportunities in the agriculture sector.