The Ugandan government has been advised to attract investment in the production of fertilizers if the country wants to introduce modern farming and start commercial agriculture. Joseph Asiimwe, the Executive Director of Farm Solution Africa, said that “access to fertilizers in Uganda by farmers is still a big challenge. The government should come up with strategies to see that the local manufacture and distribution chain are improved. That is when access to fertilizers in Uganda will be improved as it is in other regional countries such as Tanzania and Kenya”.
Analysts say that the country’s dependence on the imports of fertilizers has been driving prices up, which discourages smaller farmers. This has in turn had a negative impact on productivity as almost 50 percent of the agriculture has lost soil fertility because of poor practices and environmental problems. Mr. Asiimwe suggested that the Ugandan government should continuously get rid of burdensome legal requirements in order to attract investors in the production of fertilizers. “The investment atmosphere in Uganda has not been conducive to investors because they prefer countries where the cost of production is favorable. But when you look at Uganda the cost of doing business is high. This is because of the various licenses which an investor is required to apply for before they are granted licenses especially when it comes to exploration of minerals used as raw materials in the manufacture of fertilizers,” he further explained.
However, according to anonymous source from Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, the country will start manufacturing its own fertilizers very soon. The source said that Uganda is currently indeed importing fertilizers but the government has lately licensed a Chinese company to build a phosphate fertilizer plant in Tororo, eastern Uganda. The government believes that once the plant starts operating, the prices of crop nutrients will automatically go down.