Sunday, December 21, 2014

Uganda faces agriculture output drop

Paul Tentena in East African Business Week: Agriculture is repeatedly described as the backbone of Uganda’s economy. But in terms of productivity, it has the lowest output per worker researchers say. According to Edward Bbaale, a researcher with Centre for Basic Research and School of Economics at Makerere University, it  implies that the majority of workers in Uganda are holders of low paying jobs.

This is an issue, which means that there are low prospects of overcoming the problem of poverty by those employed in agriculture. “Even when Uganda records growth in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, youths remain jobless while growth in the services and industrial sectors is generating jobs for them. So, is it necessary for so many Ugandans to engage in agriculture? Especially, at this point in time, when the demographic changes of the population are generating a window of opportunity to raise per capita income and thus reduce poverty?” Bbaale said.

Bbaale, in his research paper entitled ‘Is Uganda’s Growth Profile Jobless?’, points out that more people should be engaged in other productive activities and sectors rather than agriculture if Uganda has to reduce on its poverty levels and create jobs for the young people.  He however, cautions that agriculture still remains important because it is a major employer in Uganda.

...Overall, the promising sectors for poverty reduction through productivity and employment generation in Uganda by order of importance are; services sector, industrial sector and manufacturing. If adults manage to engage in these sectors, the demographic shift will have an important poverty reducing impact.

The services sector was employing over 2 million Ugandans, that is 19% in 2006 and 22% in 2011 of the labor force. It had all its contributions positive; contributed 39% to output per worker and 14% to the growth in employment. Since agriculture generates low income for its workers this puts a policy question on the productivity of jobs held in the agricultural sector....

A handful of millet in Uganda, shot by Pete Lewis/Department for International Development (UK), Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: