In a bid to promote private sector investment in the agricultural sector, the government through the sector’s line ministry is putting in place support mechanisms to foster increases in agricultural production and productivity.
This was disclosed by Honourable Tress Bucyanayandi (MP), the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries while meeting senior officials at his offices in Entebbe from Amatheon Agri, a German- agribusiness and food company investing in Ugandan agriculture and agribusiness.
The officials led by Mr. Herwig Tilly, Director of Farming, Ms. Leweke von Hoff, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Mr. Thomas Rowles Nicholson, the Amatheon Agri Uganda Ltd. Farm Manager discussed various issues pertaining the agricultural sector as well as Amatheon’s plans and prospects in Uganda.
Hon. Bucyanayandi in turn shared the sector priorities stating that Amatheon’s investment in the agricultural sector is timely since it comes as the Ministry is implementing the Agriculture Chapter of the National Development Plan (NDP 2010-2015); which is also the Agriculture Development Strategy and Investment Plan.
He explained that the plan aims at promoting production and productivity of national priority commodities and key strategic high value commodities, creating an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in agriculture, promoting value addition and strengthening the institutional capacity and linkages of key public sector agriculture agencies.
Hon. Bucyanayandi added that “promotion of agricultural production and productivity is among the leading priorities of Government. We are glad that Amatheon has chosen to invest in Uganda because we know that foreign investment in agriculture can have a positive impact on host countries,” he said.
In Sub-Saharan Africa Amatheon is also active in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The company stands for high quality products and has an overall workforce of over 500 people throughout Africa. Amatheon produces a wide range of crops alongside livestock operations. The group operates along the food value chain and recently made some strategic acquisitions in the Zambian meat processing sector.
During the meeting, Herwig Tilly explained that Amatheon’s Ugandan plans comprised rainfed growing of crops such as maize, soya beans, sunflower, rice and sorghum. The company will apply double cropping methods and state of the art farming technology to attain best production levels. The company is also actively looking into value addition and livestock production.
Tilly emphasized Amatheon’s commitment to create win-win situations with surrounding communities. He said “complementing the government’s intentions to commercialise agriculture, we will provide access to genuine agricultural inputs through our farm shops and provide conservation farming training to help adjacent communities increase their yields. We are setting up systems through which we purchase crops from the farmers. We therefore bring the input and output market closer to the producer.”
The agriculture sector in Uganda employs over 73% of the population, accounts for 53% of the national export revenue and contributes 24% of the National GDP. In 2013, the sector recorded an annual growth rate of 1.5%.