Technical Assistance to Uganda’s Agricultural Sector Strategic Plan through the South-South Cooperation Project

By March 17, 2019 September 5th, 2019 Solution


The largely subsistence agriculture sector in the Republic of Uganda is characterized by low production, productivity and profitability. Such a scenario adversely affects food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of over 70 per cent of its population. The Government of Uganda identified limited knowledge and skills and trade and investment as the main constraints to its agricultural development and food security.

Towards a Solution

In view of this challenge, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of Uganda signed a two-year Tripartite Agreement for South-South Cooperation Phase II valued at almost USD 2.5 million to support small-scale farmers in the country in boosting their production, including through sustainable technologies through the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme in 2015. The project was in line with the FAO-Uganda Country Programming Framework (CPF) 2015-2019 and sought to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture (SDG 2). Upon the success of the FAO-China South- South Cooperation Project Phase I in Uganda, the new project scaled up the priorities in developing crop, horticultural, livestock and aquaculture production as well as introducing new technologies, including renewable energy, agro-machinery and improved water harvesting and irrigation methods.

In June 2017, in a letter addressed to the President of China, Xi Jinping, the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museven, wished to recognize the significant cooperation between our two sister nations’, and expressed ”sincere gratitude” to FAO for its involvement and ”excellent supervision” both at FAO Headquarters in Rome and in Uganda.

The methodology used to implement the project was based on a jointly developed plan to address Uganda’s challenges and needs. Activities included deploying five Chinese experts and eleven Chinese technicians over the period January 2016-January 2018. This helped to improve the technologies used to produce rice, foxtail millet, maize, table grapes, cherry tomatoes, goats, pigs, sheep and to raise fish imported from China.

Agricultural cooperation industrial parks were developed in Luwero and Kalungu districts to allow the country to transform its agriculture from subsistence to commercial. Seven Chinese companies have also invested in Uganda with support and guidance from the project. Six sustainable business models, including the ‘company/cooperative plus farmers’ model, were introduced to the country to explore ways to combine farmers’ practices with Chinese technologies and develop business through value addition.

Under the project, seven operating technology hubs were created. In addition, 36 demonstration sites were established, including for horticulture, livestock, cereal, aquaculture rice/fish, small-scale fish feed processing, Chinese and local biogas units, sweet potato processing, and beef jerky (suitable for the Chinese market). An agro-machinery demonstration site was also developed for field preparation, including a renovator, mushroom substrate chopper, rice thresher and three solar insect traps. More than 3,000 farmers and 80 staff members benefited from training in horticulture, livestock, hybrid rice, foxtail millet, aquaculture production and biogas construction, provided locally in Uganda.

Key resource people from the national and local governments participated in a September 2016 study tour to China focusing on capacity-building. A second tour was held in May 2017, with a delegation of 20 high- level officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries. In addition, eight trainers were trained in China on planting techniques for paddy rice, hybrid rice seed production technology intensification, vegetable breeding and cultivation technologies, fruit tree planting techniques, new techniques in tropical agriculture, tilapia breeding, and high-yield farming.

In addition, a team of Chinese South-South cooperation experts and Ugandan counterparts was established to ensure that the transferred Chinese technologies are implemented sustainably. Agricultural technology hubs were built in priority production areas.

This was all undertaken through a cost-sharing approach, with funds provided by FAO, China and Uganda.

In line with SDG 2, the project helped to: increase rice production from 2.5 tons to 10 tons per hectares; produce five tons of foxtail millet/hectare,compared with two tons of local finger millet; and significantly increased farmers’ income up to USD 3,514/acre of rice-fish culture field, thereby improving their livelihoods. Other achievements included increasing milk production from 2 litres/cow/day to 7 litres/cow/ day; increasing the mushroom substrate stock by more than 100 per cent as the result of the substrate chopper technology increasing the spawn by over 40 per cent thanks to the oyster mushrooms strains introduced by the initiative. This increased annual mushroom production from 1.5 tons to 1.8 tons on one farm.

Consequently, agricultural cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened.

The project introduced innovations and improved the country’s competitive advantage by:

  • Introducing new, improved Chinese varieties of hybrid rice and foxtail millet, new apple orchard management practices, and mushrooms that led to increased production and productivity;
  • Producing high-quality, low-cost fish feeds on-farm to reduce transport costs; and,
  • Establishing the Uganda-China Agriculture Technology Industry Park to showcase the good practices to the local public.

The sustainability of the South-South cooperation good practice was strengthened though the integration project’s interventions in the MAAIF’s ongoing programs. Two significant Memoranda of Understanding were signed among the Governments of Uganda, China and FAO to continue and build on the cooperation. Participants from Tanzania and West African countries visited Uganda to benchmark the project’s successes and local counterparts took ownership of what they learned from Chinese experts and continued to do so after the experts had left Uganda.

Sustainable Development Goal target(s): 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.A

Countries/territories involved: China, Uganda

Supported by: China, FAO

Implementing entities: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of Uganda.

Project status: Completed

Project period: 2016 – 2018

URL of the practice:


  • Mr. Jinbiao Wang, Senior Programme Officer, FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme Management Unit,
  • Mr. Zhongwei Liu, Programme Officer, FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme Management Unit,
  • Ms. Hechu Zhu, South-South Cooperation Consultant, FAO-China South-South Cooperation Programme Management Unit,
  • Dr. James Tumwine, National Project Coordinator, Uganda-China South-South Cooperation, jtumwi2002@
  • Dr. Charles Owach, Assistant FAO Representative/ Programme, Uganda,