Agriculture will remain the main stay for economic growth for Uganda in the foreseeable future with over 80% of its rural population engaged in the sector for their livelihoods; unfortunately its performance has continued to decline, and food security has become a severe constraint to most households. The decline of the agricultural production and productivity over the years is largely due to poor soil fertility, lack of adequate water for production, poor farming techniques, lack of sustainable animal feed resources, lack of agricultural inputs, lack of improved germplasm, losses from pests and diseases, poor processing techniques and skyrocketing prices.
Land degradation in addition to these factors has constrained food production, which has been exacerbated by the high average population growth rate of 3.2% per annum. In addition, huge quantities of agricultural wastes contribute to environmental pollution. If efficiently utilized these wastes have the potential for reversing the down ward trend in agricultural production. Raising agricultural productivity remains a key area for the Uganda Government's new National Development Plan (NDP) 2008. However, the growing population pressures on natural resources and traditional farming methods mean that soils have been overused and exhausted. Climate change is another limiting factor undermining efforts to fight poverty and will hamper efforts aimed at achieving the Millennium development goals. All of these changes present challenges and opportunities for sustainable programs based on ecological resource management (effective use of biological resources, soil, water, energy) for increased agricultural production.
As such, the main goal of the programme is to provide research based knowledge to develop and improve Ugandan agriculture in several aspects notably optimized nutrient recycling and utilization, improved soil fertility and water management, improved pest management, and production of value added products to increase nutritional levels. To achieve the set goal the programme implemented three sub themes: i) Increasing efficiency in agricultural waste Utilization and Management, ii) Enhancing Production Systems for Increased Crop/Livestock Productivity, and iii) Enhancing Value Chain Systems for Sustainable Agricultural Productivity. Each of the subthemes had capacity and research objectives to be implemented in the period from 2010-2014. Despite a few minor challenges the programme is well placed to meet the set targets.