Agriculture Drives Uganda’s Success in Reducing Poverty

Poverty reduction among Ugandan households in agriculture accounts for 79 percent of national poverty reduction from 2006 to 2013.

According to the World Bank Group’s latest Poverty Assessment, the proportion of the Ugandan population living beneath the national poverty line declined from 31.1 percent in 2006 to 19.7 percent in 2013. Similarly, the country was one of the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce the share of its population living on $1.90 PPP per day or less, from 53.2 percent in 2006 to 34.6 percent in 2013.

The growth in agricultural incomes of households over this decade was driven by favorable food prices and good rainfall, enabling poor smallholder farmers to obtain higher incomes from their produce. The government’s increased spending on road infrastructure, education, growth in urban centers, promotion of trade and access to new regional markets, as well as the return of peace to the war-torn northern region contributed significantly to further poverty reduction.

Christina Malmberg Calvo, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda, said: “Bridging the regional divide is critical by spurring agricultural growth and improving education, health and basic infrastructure services.

The long-term development vision of Uganda is to transform from a predominantly peasant and low income country to a competitive low middle income one by the year 2020. Reducing the number of people living in poverty will require both modernizing agricultural production and expanding employment income in non-agricultural sectors, according to the report. Lower fertility could also contribute significantly to further poverty reduction. The report emphasizes the continued transformative role of agriculture and proposes policy measures that focus on making better quality inputs and extension services available to farmers, alongside affordable credit.

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