Farmers to reap big from Hoima, Buliisa oil projects

A farmer inspects his goats in Uganda

Farmers in Uganda are bound to earn a lot of money from selling their products to the Kingfisher and Tilenga project camps once development of the oil resource starts, according to the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU).

Stakeholders are preparing oil production at the Kingfisher project in Hoima and Kikuube districts and the Tilenga project in Buliisa and Nwoya districts.

Uganda’s oil is projected to last between 25 and 30 years with an approximate daily output of between 190,000 and 200,000 barrels of oil the moment production begins.

A press release issued by Comtex-the source provider says that opportunities await small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country for an estimated demand of agricultural produce for both projects is in thousands of tonnes.

The report states that beans, cassava, maize flour and rice were among the items most demanded to feed about 8,000 workers expected to reside in the camps.

The Tilenga project where an estimated 5,000 workers will camp, shall need 320 sacks of potatoes, 3,840 pineapples, 1,024 bunches of matooke, 3,840 watermelons, 128 sacks of rice and maize flour, 640 bunches of bananas, 6,400kgs of tomatoes, and 2,560kgs of mangoes every month.

It will also need an additional 6,400 bundles of spinach, 6,400kgs of onions, 3,200kgs of carrots, and 1,280 heads of lettuce, 1,280 kgs of spring onions, 3,200kgs of aubergine, 1,280kg of avocado, 1,280kgs of green pepper, 3,840 heads of cabbages, 128 sacks of beans, 320kg of ginger, and 64 sacks of peas will be required.

Also, some 320kgs of garlic, 3,200kg of cassava, 1,280 heads of broccoli and 960kgs of cucumber, among others, will also be required.

According to the report, Kingfisher project workers will need 200 potato sacks, 2,400 pineapples, 640 bunches of matoke, 2,400 watermelons, 80 sacks rice/maize flour, 400 bunches of banana, 4,000kg of tomatoes, and1,600 kg mangoes, among others, every month.

An additional 2,000kgs of aubergine, 800kgs of avocado, 800kgs of green pepper, 2,400 heads of cabbage, 600kgs of cucumber, 80 sacks of beans, 200kgs of ginger, 40 sack peas/millet, 200 kgs of garlic, and 2,000kgs of cassava, among others, will be required.

These, according to PAU, include bacon, sausages, beef products such as fillet, rump and steak, chicken products, lamb, fish, other seafood, rabbit, turkey and goat meat, among others.

If the figures projected by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) are considered, actors in the agricultural sector will need to do a lot more to meet the huge demand for food at the oil camps.

For example, the country needs to produce an additional 2.23 per cent besides the current monthly maize production to feed the project population while rice would have to increase by 3.87 per cent over the current monthly production.

UBOS states that 1.4 million metric tonnes of sweet potatoes, four million tonnes of cassava, 704,913 tonnes of beans, 6.2 million tonnes of matooke and 199,000 tonnes of sweet bananas are produced in the country per month.

UBOS 2018 Agricultural survey indicated that Uganda produces an estimated 3.3million metric tonnes of maize, 192,329 of rice, 140,573 of millet and 314,655 of Irish potatoes a month.

The statistics body indicated a fall in beef production from 214,033 metric tonnes in 2016 to 211,358 in 2018.

However, the report recorded a slight increase in goat and mutton production from 39,987 metric tonnes to 39,990 metric tonnes.

It is estimated that 1.5 million tonnes or more of building materials, mainly steel products will be needed to construct the refinery and crude oil pipeline as well as other production and transport facilities for oil.

Once these facilities are done, the projects are expected to create more than 160,000 jobs with 14,000-30,000 direct jobs, 42,000 indirect jobs and more than 105,000 induced jobs.

“As opportunities continue to unfold, farmers are encouraged to register on the National Supplier Database (NSD), and consider forming associations or cooperatives to be able to meet the expected demand consistently,” PAU’s report says.

For a Ugandan company or farmer to participate in the supply chain, they must be incorporated in Uganda, adding value to their products as well as approved and registered with the national supplier database of the Petroleum Authority of Uganda.

According to the World Bank’s Uganda Economic Update report of 2017, Ugandan firms still remain primarily in low value-added, labour-intensive areas of production. This has over time made it difficult for Ugandan firms to compete in international markets.

“Only a very small proportion of Ugandan businesses and households have access to a bank loan. Interest rates often range between 22 and 25 per cent of the total value of the borrowed amount. This causes many people to shy away from loan products,” it said.

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