Agriculture policy, land & food

During the course of my work I am regularly confronted with discourse that in my view I consider to be premised on falsehoods that are peddled as truths and on the basis of which policies, interventions and strategies are being made that have significant consequence on the peoples of Uganda.

I feel it my duty as an active citizen to engage with such discourse and to offer my views. I thus earlier this year authored a paper which I have today published on the online sight “Academia”, in which I engage Uganda’s agriculture policy and attempt to demonstrate the match and/or mismatch between it and lived realities of ordinary Ugandans.

The paper is structured in five major parts as follows:

Part I: Agriculture in Uganda (pages 2 – 9) provides a social cultural description of agriculture in the context of Uganda – with the intent to define agriculture on the basis of the realities on the ground. The following is discussed in Part I: definition of agriculture, agriculture and the economy, subsistence agriculture, nomadic agro-pastoralists, and attitudes on agriculture.


Part II: Rural and Urban in Uganda (pages 10 – 25) attempts to answer the question: what is the rural and the urban in the context of Uganda? A case study of Teso and the Iteso of Uganda is used in order to provide a historical analysis of changes in a Ugandan food system, in order to demonstrate what is considered rural and urban. The following aspects are discussed in Part II: Teso and Iteso, Iteso farming methods, Iteso farming tools, Iteso land tenure, Teso crops and livestock for cash, Iteso farming practices and the environment, the rural, the urban, attitudes on rural and on urban, Teso urbanising, changes in Iteso food, slumitisation of Teso and land grabbing in Teso.


Part III: Uganda National Budgets and Agriculture Policy (pages 26 -34) is in form of a policy brief that discusses national budgets and relevant policy in relation to agriculture. Budget allocations to agriculture are discussed in relation to the national budget and in terms of intra agriculture sector allocations. Uganda Food and Nutrition Policy and Uganda National Land Policy are discussed.

undefinedPart IV: Conclusion (Pages 35 – 37) threads together the three preceding parts and uses them to support opinions on whether national budget allocations to smallholder farmers improve or not agricultural production and whether they stem or not rural-urban migration.

Part V: Works sited (pages 38-41)

Here is the link to the full text of the paper that is published on Academia.

If you are unable to access it through Academia and you are interested in it, please request for it through comment to this post and or via email:

One response to “Agriculture policy, land & food”

  1. Talking of Agriculture policies premised on falsehoods, how about the following?:

    Counting potential benefits of biotechnology to Uganda: weed control through chemical application as opposed to hand weeding, improve appearance, taste, nutritional quality as well as drought, pest and disease tolerance.

    Economic value of growing GM crops vis-à-vis the traditional crops:
    #1. The potential benefit to consumers: banana is about $199.7m, $4.5m for maize, $16.6m for cassava, $4.6m in sweet potatoes and $5.6m in rice.

    #2. The potential benefits to farmers: banana is $299.6m, $19.8m in maize, $24.2m in cassava, $6.7m in sweet potatoes and $19.9m in rice.

    Net present value benefit-cost ratios of GM crops for the 10-year period were highest in banana, rated at $771.4m followed by rice with $142m, then maize $118.1m, cassava $58.7m and sweet potato $16.2m.

    Sounds great! Who on earth wouldn’t want those benefits!

    I wonder if the person who conducted those GMO benefit studies could be the same person that was involved with NAADS! And what did he do?-


    In early 2009, President Museveni wrote a five-page letter to the then minister for agriculture, Eng. Hilary Onek, decrying what he described as mishandling of the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) programme.

    “Naads [officials] are again bringing confusion with demonstration farmers, model farmers, lead farmers, etc,” Museveni noted.

    “We directed that the Naads programme be implemented by existing government extension workers. Why do you hire other ‘advisory services’ from elsewhere? This is short-hand for stealing,” he noted. –


    “Agriculture minister Tress Bucyanayandi has said he was sure right from the start the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) was destined to fail.” –

    Then after NAADS’ failure and world Bank cutting off funding, another attempt is made to get more money from the WORLD BANK:

    This time, Overall Ratings – “Moderately Satisfactory”!!!!!!!!!!!

    Approval Date (as of board presentation) June 22, 2010; Total Project Cost** US$ 639.00 million.

    The objective of the Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services Project for Uganda is to increase agricultural productivity and incomes of participating households by improving the performance of agricultural research and advisory service systems in the Republic of Uganda. The project includes five components. …

    The objective of component five is to support the NARO and NAADS Secretariats to ensure: (i) efficient execution of administrative, financial management, and procurement functions; (ii) coordination of project activities among various stakeholders; (iii) implementation of safeguard measures.

    GMO agriculture benefits study doesn’t factor in risks that even Dr. Kiggundu admitted GMO biotechnology has just like any other technology! No mentioning of the studies that have shown that GMO agriculture kills pollinators such as these from 3 different Universities which concluded that: “Unfortunately, the monarch populations appear to be in a state of decline. Why? A new study (abstract; press release) from University of Minnesota and Iowa State University researchers points to an answer: the rapid rise of crops engineered to withstand herbicides.” –

    And that is before we talk of super weeds –

    In the end I had to remind one of our biotechnologist pushers for changes in agriculture policies to accept GMO agriculture as follows:

    And please, don’t keep the president in the dark. You surely don’t want him to repeat the following line in this day and age, do you?; “We have seen GMO crops help farmers in Burkina Faso and South Africa, and we believe that the technologies being developed here by our scientists will help many farmers transform from peasantry to commercial,” said President Museveni during a recent biotechnology conference in Kampala.

    The fact of the matter is that Burkina Faso Cotton companies lost money on Monsanto’s GMO cotton and is now trying to get compensation for the losses.…/16677-burkina-faso-abandons-gm-bt-cotton

    When a full minister sees and knows a wrong policy is being implemented in his department from the very beginning that will cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars and keeps quiet, only to reveal at the end that he was sure right from the start the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) was destined to fail, says a lot about Uganda’s Agriculture policy, but even says more about those in charge.


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