Agriculture has the potential to drive wide-reaching economic transformation in Uganda. With nearly three-quarters of Ugandan households directly dependent on farming or animal industries, the agricultural sector is central to the Ugandan government’s strategy for meeting the twin challenges of reducing poverty and fostering broad economic growth. Over the past two decades, agricultural policies linked to government investment and economic liberalization have been instrumental in bringing poverty rates down from 56 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2006.
Yet significant challenges remain. While Uganda’s total GDP has more than tripled since 1990, agricultural real annual growth has declined in recent years, from 7.9 percent in 2000/1 to 2.6 percent in 2008/9, a rate insufficient to meet the agricultural needs of a rapidly growing population. As a result, an increasing number of people are unable to meet their basic needs and are at greater risk of food insecurity and malnutrition. Further improvements in agricultural productivity, market mechanisms, and policymaking are critical to realizing the Ugandan government’s vision of a competitive, profitable, and sustainable agricultural sector.
The Uganda Strategy Support Program (USSP) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) works in partnership with the Ugandan government to implement the government’s Agricultural Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP). Drawing on the skills and experience of local and international researchers, USSP generates policy-relevant evidence on priority agricultural and rural development issues.