Agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy and is central to the country’s economic growth and poverty reduction. It employs approximately 65% of the population which is engaged in various activities along the agricultural value chains including production, agro processing and value addition as well as marketing. Agriculture is therefore the springboard for socio-economic transformation.
To fast track this transformation agenda, MAAIF, with Technical Assistance from the World Bank, developed a six (6) year Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP). The main objective of this project to ‘Raise on-farm productivity, production and marketable surplus of five priority commodities (i.e. maize, beans, rice, cassava and coffee).’ The project activities will be delivered through four components:
- Support intensification of on farm production. Here, we will provide inputs in the form of seeds, fertilizers, pest control chemicals and post-harvest handling materials through the input subsidy program.
- The second one is preparation for agricultural water management investments: Here we want to support irrigation infrastructure development, formation and consolidation of water user associations. We will also support the development of soil and water conservation plans.
- The third is market linkages, storage and value addition, where we will focus on providing matching grants to Area Commodity Enterprises. Cooperatives and Private Sector Players to improve their capacity for marketing and postharvest handling of farm produce.
- And the fourth is project management, policy, regulatory and ICT functions of MAAIF where we will work to ensure effective management and coordination of this project by strengthening MAAIF’s effectiveness to carry out its roles with respect to policy and regulations affecting agricultural input and output markets
The project will be implemented in 12 clusters covering 42 districts drawn from all over Uganda except Karamoja which has a special intervention under the resilience project. I am happy to share that Iganga has in fact been selected as one of our five pilot districts to begin with. In Busoga sub-region, the project will cover the districts of Iganga, Namutumba and Bugiri.