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August 02, 2015

Greater access to fertiliser sought for Ugandan farmers

Uganda's equatorial position and favourable climate, as well its rich volcanic soils, make it ideal for the successful growing of a large variety of crops. Fertiliser use never took hold in the way it did in neighbouring Kenya, partly because of the two countries' very different colonisation patterns. In addition, political disruptions in the late 1970s and early 1980s greatly disrupted agriculture in general, with fertiliser use said to have decreased 'to almost zero' from 8000 tonnes in the early 1970s.

According to the 'Uganda Fertilizer Strategy 2006 Draft Report,' it is estimated that between 1996 and 2000, fertiliser usage was 0.37kg fertilizer nutrients per hectare. This is compared to 4kg/ha in Mozambique, 6kg/ha in Tanzania, Malawi 16kg/ha, Kenya 31.6kg/ha, South Africa 51kg/ha, USA 105kg/ha and 578 kg/ha in The Netherlands.

Some have considered the relative pristine-ness of Ugandan soils in relation to their exposure to synthetic fertilisers to be an advantage in marketing the hub as a potential powerhouse for organic crops.

Despite the country's relatively good natural soil fertility, declining yields from intensive use over the years have spurred the government and other industry players to encourage greater fertiliser use.

Current Ugandan fertiliser use is said to be one kilogramme (kg) of nutrients per hectare per year, while the
recommended usage is 50 kg/hectare/year.eyond the reach of

All of Uganda's fertiliser is imported, with the result that the landed cost of the product in the landlocked country is beyond the reach of many farmers. Yet the country's investment climate is said to not be conducive to fertiliser manufacturers establishing a base in the country. However, in 2014 China's Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group began building a phoshate fertiliser plant in Tororo district, eastern Uganda, said to have an initial capacity of 300, 000 tonnes per year.

African Agriculture

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