Govt Woos Ugandan Diaspora into Agricultural Investments

Dr. Joseph Muvawala the Executive Director of National Planning Authority speaking at Hotel Africana on Wednesday

The Executive Director of Uganda’s planning body (NPA) Dr. Joseph Muvawala wants government to invest more in food production and storage facilities if Ugandans are to draw tangible benefits from agriculture. He raised concern over the growing food imports yet the country possesses the comparative advantage and potential to grow the a variety of food crops.

He made the remarks on Wednesday while delivering a keynote at a Diaspora business engagement organized by Uganda Investment Authority at Hotel Africana.

“We currently have a serious market failure in accessing credit and the agricultural sector is among those affected. With the bad weather that has hampered production, approved we need to establish storage facilities.”

Instead, case he said, countries like Kenya are buying and hoarding large quantities of maize from Uganda and “selling it back to at high prices back to us during times of scarcity.”

Dr. Muvawala also hinted on the high cost of credit among commercial banks especially for farmers advocating for significant recapitalization of Uganda Development Bank (UDB).

“Capping interest rates will only do more harm to our economy. But when UDB is revamped and it lowers its interest rates, competition will force other banks to follow suit,” he said.

He noted that Eastern Uganda is a region that is full of investment opportunities; mining, tourism and agriculture but financial inclusion remains at its lowest. Poverty levels in the Eastern region were at 24.%, 5 percentage points above the national poverty levels.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija who also spoke at the forum similarly stressed the investment potential that agriculture presents for Uganda, saying the market for food produce is enormous.

“I have not seen a country with more natural resources and favorable soils as Uganda. We have two rainy seasons but the land is lying idle,” he urged Ugandans in diaspora to exploit the opportunity.

The Minister said that while the foreign market is vast, majority of farmers in Ugandans produce on a small scale and with poor quality.


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