Agricultural production slightly fell but remained strong unlike other sectors like tourism, hospitality, transport and education, some of which almost came to a halt.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, agriculture, which is the source of livelihood to two-thirds of Ugandans, contributed 23.7% in the financial year 2020/2021, compared to 23.9% in the previous year.
Agriculture Extention Workers were limited by travel restrictions
The agriculture sector’s value to the economy has remained largely
unchanged and in some areas, increased during the one year of the Covid 19
This resilience has given the authorities more incentives to focus
on the sector in the development programs like the National Development Plan
III and the Parish Model of Development.
Agricultural production slightly fell but remained strong unlike
other sectors like tourism, hospitality, transport and education, some of which
almost came to a halt.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, agriculture, which
is the source of livelihood to two-thirds of Ugandans, contributed 23.7% in the
financial year 2020/2021, compared to 23.9% in the previous year.
Agriculture comes second in contribution to the economy, behind
services (47%) and industry (about 22%). Unfortunately, the sector employs the
majority of Ugandans, while the largest contributor to GDP, services, employs
20% and industry 7.
This means agriculture currently contributes marginally to the
growth of personal incomes or per capita incomes. This is the main reason why
more government resources have to go into agriculture to improve production and
productivity by modernizing the sector.
During the second quarter 2020/2021 (October to December 2020), the sector grew
3.1% compared to a high 8.8% it had registered in the same period of the
previous year, before the outbreak of the pandemic.
Within the year of the pandemic itself, the sector saw
fluctuations, with the first quarter (March to May) presenting the highest
decline in output, as most of the economy was shut.
This was mainly because of restrictions on transport, which
affected the movement of farmers to work, but also the movement of products to local,
regional and international markets.
Other factors included the sharp fall in the extension work as
many officials could not move, as well as limitations on access to financial
services, with most micro-lenders unable to access their smallholder farmer
In value terms, however, the sector added 7.219 Trillion Shillings
to the economy compared to 7 Billion Shillings during the same quarter in the
The sector’s performance saw mixed fortunes with some industries
performing better, while others declined.
There was an increase in the cash crop growing activities, for
example, especially in the coffee subsector, while fishing activities declined
According to UBOS, the GDP is estimated to have grown marginally
by 8.6 trillion (US$2.5 billion) to about Ushs148.3 trillion (US$42.4 billion).
Considering the whole financial year 2020/2021 however, the agriculture,
forestry and fishing sector grew by 3.5 percent due to an increase in cash
crop, food crop and livestock activities.
Cash crop activities grew by 6.7%, food crop activities by 4.1% and livestock
registered the highest growth of 7.8%.
“This position was supported by government interventions through the provision
of extension services and favourable weather conditions. Additionally, taxes on
products grew by 6.8 percent from -1.6 percent the previous financial year
following a pick-up in economic activity,” according to a not from the Ministry
of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Agriculture, along with the movement of cargo, was also given priority by the
East African Community heads of state, who committed not to impose measures
that affected the survival of the sectors during the pandemic.
These include movement of produce, inputs and support workers.
There was also an increase in the number of people engaging in agriculture,
either as farmers or as employees on farms, as they sought alternative sources
of income, following the closure of most of their activities.
This, however, also had negative effects on the economy, as reports show an
increase in environmental degradation. This was because more people had to get
land to practice agriculture, and ended up invading forests.