UWRSA Embarks on a Nation Wide Survey of Storage InfrastructureDavis Byamugisha
Background on Uganda’s Agricultural Sector
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the undeveloped or poor food supply chain in Uganda. A number of consignments were rejected due to non-conformity to standards and improper commodity handling and storage practices were observed as some of the causes.
It should also be noted that 60% of Uganda’s population is involved in the Agricultural sector. This sector has seen an average growth rate of only 2.8% per year in the last 8 years which presents immense opportunities for growth in other sectors like manufacturing especially agro-processing.
Availability of sufficient and standardised storage infrastructure has been a challenge to different stakeholders involved in the production and marketing sectors, and this has led to high post-harvest losses and deterioration in quality of commodities thus leading to agribusiness losses.
Storage infrastructure is a key component in the implementation of the Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) and additionally a control mechanism for food safety and security. With a focus on Post Harvest Handling along different commodity value chains, storage infrastructure is a must have both at farm-level and commercial level.
Objectives of the warehouse profiling exercise
And so, on 11th February 2021, Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority (UWRSA) concluded regional meetings that set the stage ready for beginning the profiling exercise for all the agricultural commodity storage infrastructure in Uganda.
Among other objectives, this ongoing exercise is to establish the number, size, capacity, ownership and state of the existing storage infrastructure in the country and establish if the existing structures meet the much needed standard technical requirements and what needs to be done to improve their standards if necessary. It will also inform on which commodities are produced in which regions of Uganda and regional agricultural capacity.
UWRSA leveraged the existing Local Government framework that includes District and Municipal Commercial Officers (DCOs and MCOs) as key players in implementing the storage infrastructure/warehouse profiling exercise.
Districts in Uganda were put in nine (9) clusters based on region and nine regional meetings were held to review and perfect the data collection tool (questionnaire). The electronic profiling questionnaires were then dispatched to the different DCOs, and MCOs for filling out for each established storage facility / warehouse in every district.
Validation of findings
The findings from this profiling exercise are intended to inform policy interventions to the production and marketing sectors of Uganda’s economy. They will also help to identify areas/regions that need investment in storage facilities.
Regional data validation meetings are currently ongoing with the previously constituted (9) clusters of districts. The DCOs and MCOs present their findings from their respective districts and municipalities in presence of the district leaderships (Chief Administrative Officers, Resident District Commissioners, RCCs, LCVs and Town Clerks).
In the first data validation meeting held on 24th March 2021 for the Busoga Region cluster at Nile Resort in Jinja, Hon Gume Fredrick Ngobi (Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (Cooperatives) stressed the importance of the agricultural sector in Uganda’s economy and explained how the national storage infrastructure baseline survey would help government to understand what needed to be done to support organised farmer groups and help liberate the farmer.