The year 2022 saw an increase in the involvement of the working population in agriculture, with over 80% involved in agriculture, forestry, and fishing.
Women unlike men embraced agriculture and its benefits. Over 70% of the females in the working population are involved with 7/10 women whereas just 58% of the males in the working population have embraced agriculture.
The Agricultural Sector accounted for close to 54.4 percent of the workforce, and in FY 2021/22, agriculture accounted for about 24.1% of GDP, and 33% of export earnings.
With the progression in Uganda’s population, there is an increase in demand for food, especially in areas that have been affected by adverse climate changes.
This is evidence that indeed this sector is vital and many Ugandans are and can benefit from the agricultural sector, especially the food crop sector.
However, the uncertainty arising from weather vagaries owing to the dependency on natural rains and the difficulty in projecting market prices to pre-determine the profitability of the enterprise is affecting the performance of the agricultural sector.
The inability to predict these two factors and their recurrence affects the return on investment and the decision-making process for the farmer to venture into the acquisition of assets especially if they have to rely on credit to do so.
While the banking industry has positively cushioned the sector with financing options, the actors in the value chain struggle to identify with some of these generic solutions that are available on the market.
It is therefore not surprising that for years, the sector has struggled to reach its full potential.
Therefore, it is important to tailor flexible agribusiness solutions with the customer’s context in mind.
Rather than offer off-shelf products there needs to be a drive that segments enterprises and value chains to appreciate and respond to their unique dynamics appropriately.
The customer-centric agribusiness solutions have gradually improved food security and nutrition for many households.
According to the budget presented by the government for the financial year 2023/2024, economic growth is expected to strengthen to 5.3 percent with a rebound in agricultural production owing to Government intercessions into agricultural productivity.
The growth will be supported by government initiatives like the Parish Development Model and EMYOOGA.
As the rest of the world projects possible economic recessions, investing in agriculture while using the available affordable Agri finance solutions in place will cushion the burden on the farmer and in turn Increase profitability for farmers and transform communities for the better.
The writer is Evans Nakhokho the Head of Agribusiness at Centenary Bank.