At 241,038 km2, Uganda is the 9th largest country in the East Africa region. It is therefore impressive that it is home to almost half of East Africa’s arable land. With its tropical climate and availability of water, from rainfall (1000-2000 mm/yr in some locations), several large lakes and its position within the Nile basin, the country wields a wealth of agricultural opportunity.
Uganda’s fertile soils, especially around Lake Victoria, are home to tea and coffee plantations, sugar cane and cocoa beans as high-value cash crops. In fact, coffee is Uganda’s main agricultural export. It is estimated that as much as 20 percent of Uganda’s population (8.3 million people in 2016) earn a large part of their income from coffee.
And it’s certainly not all large farms. Smallholders make an important contribution to this export crop with approximately 500,000 small farms growing at least some coffee. (Related blog: Read about SolarNow and NUCAFE here).
A lush green Ugandan farm – this can now be irrigated by solar
Smallholders in Uganda
Like most African countries, smallholders are the backbone of the country, providing not only export crops but subsistence foods for the majority of the population. This is shown in the country statistics – 85 percent of the farming community are smallholders (average farm size 2.5 hectares), compared to just 3 percent in large-scale agriculture.
But much of Uganda’s agricultural land is underutilised with only about 35 percent being cultivated, often with traditional farming methods and tools. This is where great opportunity lies. It is estimated that Uganda’s arable land could produce enough food to feed 200 million people – isn’t that amazing?
It’s exciting to see agricultural innovations are emerging into the market to support this opportunity, companies such as SolarNow who sell solar solutions coupled with affordable and flexible credit to a growing customer base in Uganda and more recently Kenya are a vital part in this agricultural transition.
This month our Futurepump Tour takes us to this fantastic and lush country. We will visit customers, share their stories and learn about Ugandan smallholder agriculture. Look out for more on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube!
Author: Helen Davies