Uganda’s Oil Seeds Project Predicted to Transform Farmers’ Fortunes

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Uganda's Oil Seeds Project Predicted to Transform Farmers' Fortunes
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Highlights:

  • Uganda’s Oil Seeds Project: A Game-Changer for Farmers, Experts Predict
  • Experts Highlight Uganda’s Potential to Replace Imported Oil with Homegrown Seeds
  • Uganda’s Agriculture Sector Sees Hope in Oil Seeds Project

In a recent development, experts in the agriculture sector have suggested that the value chain related to oil seeds could become a significant source of income for Uganda. The National Oil Seeds Project (NOSP), which is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, aims to expand the value chain for oil seeds across approximately 81 districts in the country.

According to experts, this initiative has the potential to replace imported vegetable oil valued at around Shs1.1 trillion with domestically produced oil derived from oil seeds.



Christopher Gumisiriza, the project coordinator for NOSP, explained, “The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is currently encouraging farmers to allocate approximately 960,000 acres of land for oil seed production in 81 districts, with an expected annual yield of about 480,000 metric tonnes.”

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Additionally, the private sector has played a significant role by installing 113 mills in the oil seed industry. This increased production and productivity are expected to raise NOSP mill utilization from the current 45 percent to 85 percent, as stated by Mr. Gumisiriza.

The government is also working on enhancing the efficiency of farm operators through improvements in the agricultural extension system and the provision of a farm service promotion scheme. This scheme includes the provision of tractors and medium-scale production equipment to boost overall production.

The NOSP aims to support approximately 350,000 households in six sub-regions, spanning 81 districts across northern, mid-northern, West Nile, Karamoja, mid-western, and eastern geographical hubs. As part of this support, farmers will gain access to high-quality production inputs such as seeds, seedlings, and fertilizers. The project also seeks to develop local seed businesses through quality declared production schemes and provide medium and small-scale irrigation schemes. The project has a seven-year duration, running from July 2021 to July 2028.



Farmers in various districts have expressed their optimism about the project. Steven Cherop, a farmer from Kapchorwa District, believes that the value chain approach will add more value to their agricultural products. He hopes that this project will genuinely benefit the intended beneficiaries.

Christopher Wamboka, another farmer from Kapchorwa District, emphasizes the need for increased government support in the agriculture sector. He believes that this initiative will not only improve food security but also contribute to additional family income by focusing on commercial farming.

Funding for the National Oil Seeds Project comes from various sources, including the government of Uganda, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the OPEC fund for International Development, Heifer International, and the Kuehne Foundation, among other partners.

Despite various economic sectors, Uganda continues to rely on agriculture as the leading source of employment for over 70 percent of its population and accounting for more than 80 percent of its exports.



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