Sustainable Agriculture in UgandaMany people do not often give in-depth thought about the countries in Africa. Even when thought is given, it is most often toward more well-known countries, such as Nigeria. One country that does not get recognition is the country of Uganda. More specifically, the agriculture in Uganda, and the need for sustainability, is in dire need of attention.

The need for sustainable agriculture in Uganda has been met with help from organizations such as the Uganda Sustainable Agriculture Support Organization (USASO) which helps train people in sustainable methods of farming. Ugandans are taught to both plant and take care of the foods they grow. The women of Uganda learn the most, as they make up a significant part of the workforce. They, along with children, learn to fertilize soil and create a sustainable food source for the country through farming.

In 2004, Uganda adopted the Uganda Organic Standard, which helped make big changes in terms of Uganda’s economy. This standard helped improve income and food security, as well as increased the number of certified organic farmers by 359 percent between the years of 2002 to 2007. Acreage under organic agricultural production also increased by 60 percent. It also helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural chemical runoff into local water bodies.

Despite the seemingly positive effects that farming has had on the economy of Uganda in the early 2000s, research done by environmental scientist Festus Bagoora shows that farming in places with dry land, such as Uganda, might not be the best thing for long term sustainability. Considering 22 percent of land area in Uganda is dry, and thus contains fragile ecosystems, farming in these lands could have an adverse effect on the grazing area of the cattle that usually reside there, and therefore have a negative outcome on sustainable agriculture in Uganda.

These outcomes include both drought and desertification, which have become more of a problem because of the over-cultivation of land through farming and the grazing of cattle. These are problems that have not yet touched Uganda but have the potential to become an issue. Although the economy of Uganda is surviving on the exports of coffee, plantains, sweet potatoes and more, the soil in these lands needs to be surveyed in order to determine if it can be farmed or not. This is crucial to the land’s ecosystem, as without the proper care for the soil, the ecosystem could fall apart and leave Uganda in a very poor position in terms of agriculture.

The agriculture in Uganda is in constant fluctuation. The sustainability of it has yet to be determined, as the country still has a ways to go in order for its economy to become stable. Its ecosystem is fragile and will require constant care in order for the country to be able to successfully have blossoming agriculture that everyone can benefit from. This can be reached through the proper care for soil, as well as care for the cattle and where the livestock are grazing. Addressing these can lead to a proper and more sustainable agriculture in Uganda.

– Simone Williams

Photo: Flickr