Sufficient fertile land is still a prerequisite for productive agriculture. This was once available in Uganda, but it is currently becoming increasingly scarce, due to the rapid population growth but also to the settlement of investors who are often active in the agricultural sector. The land legislation is a topical issue in politics.
In the past five years, agricultural yields in Uganda have grown by around two percent per year, but in the case of the East African neighbors by three to five percent. That is not enough to feed the growing population or to create jobs, it is significantly lower than the current population growth of a good three percent. There is, however, potential for more intensive agriculture combined with job creation.
Products from agriculture and horticulture still form the basis of economic activities and are responsible for around 80% of export income. In the relatively fertile Uganda, too, issues of food security play a role, especially in the north, in connection with the now relatively good security situation, but still poor infrastructure. While a good number of Ugandan farmers are already committed to organic farming, there are also proponents of genetic engineering. Land scarcity, monocultures and a warm and humid climate make it easy for pests to multiply. Most of them are the matoke plantations affected. Drought affects farmers in the north and east (Karamoja) of the country in particular. But excessive rain, which has occurred again and again in recent years, can also spoil the harvest. In addition to traditional products such as coffee, cotton, tea and tobacco, there are new foreign exchange providers such as vanilla, honey, dried fruits, cut flowers or now the cultivation of aloe, perhaps a chance for Karamoja, which has since been economically neglected. Increasingly, cocoa is now being grown, and Uganda is now fifth in Africa with 20,000 tonnes per year. Some of it is processed into chocolate in the country. Fish toois one of Uganda’s export hits. But after years of overfishing, the goods are slowly becoming scarce. Now the lucrative Victoria perch, which is mainly exported to the EU, almost brought a confrontation with Kenya. Because a rich fishing area is located on a tiny island in Lake Victoria. Both countries lay claim to the island, now old maps should clarify the possessions.
According to estatelearning, coffee is still one of the main export products. The Uganda Coffee Development Authority provides comprehensive information on the coffee-growing areas, processing and importance of this product, which is so important for Uganda. As part of a public-private partnership, a coffee trading company and GIZ are jointly supporting Ugandan coffee farmersin the difficult transition to sustainable cultivation methods. Not entirely unproblematic as farmers had to give way to the coffee plantation.
Tourism and ecotourism
Uganda’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased significantly in the last five years, mainly due to the improved security in the tourist centers and the increased number of private investors. Whereas 36,943 tourists came to Uganda in 1999, in 2018 there were already over 1.4 million. However, around 50% stated that they were visiting friends and relatives as a reason for entry, 21% came on business and only 16% came to relax or take a vacation.
Uganda’s 10 national parks are not overly large, but all offer a fascinating landscape, from the hot springs in Semuliki Park, the huge growth of plants in the over 5000 m high Ruwenzori, the Nile Falls in Murchison Falls National Park, the mountain rainforest in Mount Elgon, to Savannah in Kidepo National Park. Would you like everything in one park? The Queen Elizabeth National Park offers savannah as well as rainforest, wetlands and lakes; The flora and fauna are accordingly diverse. It is true that there are only rhinos in one breeding station in the northwest of the country, but otherwise Uganda’s parks have a lot to offer from antelopes to giraffes, lions, hippos and zebras, not to mention an extremely diverse bird life.
The Ugandan government has now finally recognized this and passed the Tourism Bill in March 2008. After all, tourism brings in $ 1.4 billion annually. But the parks and the animal world must also be protected. In addition, rangers deployed, some trained with foreign help, sometimes better equipped than the national army.
In the future, “Tourism Uganda”, the successor organization of the “Uganda Tourism Board”, should have more money available. This is financed by a new hotel tax.
The travel guide Lonely Planet selected Uganda as the most popular trend travel destination in 2012.
Uganda is home to about two thirds of the remaining mountain gorillas in the world. In order to protect the primates and to promote the local population economically, these natural treasures are made available to visitors as part of organized ecotourism programs, for example in the Bwindi Forest reserve. While Rwanda has now doubled the prices for visiting primates to USD 1,500, Uganda has so far kept prices at USD 600. As of July 2020, the gorilla permits will cost USD 700.
Since mid-March 2020, however, it has not been possible to visit the gorillas due to the corona pandemic.
The projects of the Uganda Community Tourism Association, founded in 1998, can be found near the parks, scattered all over Uganda(UCOTA). The local population is involved in the planning and implementation of tourism development projects through so-called “Community Tourism”. Small projects such as B. the production of handicrafts and handicrafts, but also traditional group events are promoted. This type of tourism ensures that profits largely remain with the local people. In the meantime, Uganda’s government has also recognized that the village communities make a significant contribution to the success of tourism. In the new tourism guidelines, the government declares tourism to be an important pillar of poverty reduction.