Closing the potential-performance divide in Ugandan agriculture
This report (PDF) by the World Bank looks at what could explain the potential-performance divide in Uganda and comes with recommendations how to close this. In Uganda, agriculture accounts for 70% of employment and provides half of the exports and one quarter of GDP. However, the difference between aggregate output growth and the growth of all inputs and factors of production that produced it, has been negative for the last two decades in Ugandan agriculture. This suggests that on balance the country is now getting less for equal or greater effort. Food insecurity, poverty and nutritional quality remain major challenges in rural areas and the prevalence of national food imports has increased over the last decade. One-shot stimuli to growth have helped Ugandan agriculture and promoted significant poverty alleviation, but likely will not be able to provide the same level of continued stimulus for new growth. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable to worry whether agriculture can continue to drive future overall growth. The report shows that climate change can have severe consequences if proactive investments and policies are not put into place to promote greater resilience of rural livelihoods and agriculture systems. Furthermore, there is a lack of congruence between what is vital for growth and resilience, and what is being done. There are three main themes requiring action: 1) Strengthening public institutions and policies for agricultural productivity. Public funds should be re-purposed, institutions should work in a more coordinated fashion and regulatory reform is essential. 2) Promote commercialization of agriculture through private sector value-addition and trade. The private sector is central for taking agriculture forward in a market-led economy. There is a need to improve access to agricultural finance along the value chain and improve inclusion and access to market knowledge and skills. 3) Increase resilience in agroecosystems and rural livelihoods. Uganda is one of the least adapted agroeconomic systems. The breadth and urgency of the low resilience problem requires a much broader multi-stakeholder approach.