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World Bank: Uganda can achieve inclusive growth by investing in climate-smart agriculture

In Central Uganda, school children in Kisubi are learning about fish farming and integrated aquaculture, which help to reduce pressure on dwindling water resources and fisheries while increasing fish output and exports. Water from the fishponds is used to irrigate fruits and vegetables, innovative and efficient use of resources.

This approach to fish farming is one of the key highlights of the latest World Bank Economic Update for Uganda (UEU), which illustrates how Uganda’s economy and people’s livelihoods are tied to the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.

The 17th edition of the economic update, From Crisis to Green Resilient Growth: Investing in Sustainable Land Management and Climate-Smart Agriculture, focuses on how the country should invest in sustainable land management and climate-smart agriculture to achieve sustainable green growth.

Agriculture has become particularly important to the livelihoods of Ugandans, says the UEU, hence the need to enhance its sustainability. When jobs were lost and businesses closed due to the Covid-19 crisis, many people returned to agriculture and other natural resource-dependent activities to mitigate and survive the crisis. This increased pressure on natural resources that were already strained by rapid population growth, urbanization, the influx of refugees, and the government’s industrialization drive.

An estimated 41% of Uganda’s land is degraded, according to the report, contributing to economic vulnerabilities and poverty. The rate of degradation and soil erosion is unsustainable and costs about 17% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). “The agricultural sector loses up to 27% of its GDP due to environmental degradation,” said Pushina Ng’andwe, World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist and co-author of the UEU. “Furthermore, the country’s forest cover declines at 2.6% annually, one of the highest rates of forest loss globally.

“The government needs to prioritize human capital development, greener investment, and support farmers and producers with incentives to adopt sustainable land management and climate-smart agriculture practices,” said Rachel Sebudde, World Bank Senior Economist and lead author of the UEU.

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