By Morrison Rwakakamba
I am in Istanbul for the Turkey – Africa Economic and Business Forum. I was invited by the African Union and the Turkish Ministry of Trade to share thoughts on the agriculture and agro-processing potential in Africa broadly and Uganda specifically.
The history of Turkey – Africa relations dates the back to mid-1500s when the Ottoman Empire, headquartered in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey opened trade routes in Africa, starting with Egypt in 1517. The Ottoman empire further extended diplomatic relations and mutual partnership with Kanem Borno Empire in West and Central Africa in the 19th Century.
At a 2020 forum, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “The total trade volume between Turkey and African countries has risen by 381 percent in the last 27 years and reached $26 billion. We will further boost our cooperation with the continent in the period ahead. We will work together shoulder to shoulder to increase our trade volume up to $50 billion.”
Indeed, for Turkish investors looking to establish investments in Uganda, it is clear they have the opportunity to benefit from now expansive African market enabled by the African Continental Free Trade Area (Africa has 1.3 billion people and is projected to have 2.5 billion people by 2050), access to quota-free and duty-free market in Europe under the Everything else But Arms (EBA) arrangement and over 600 products listed under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) arrangement. Turkey shares a similar time zone with Uganda and is less than six hours away from Entebbe, Uganda. There is a direct flight between Turkey and Uganda.
Beyond the infrastructure capacity and clear incentives in the Investment code act of 2019, I shared with Turkish prospective investors specific opportunities into the selected strategic agricultural value chains. Uganda investment Authority continues to invest in research, data, and business intelligence tools that generate a clear return on investment numbers to help investors make quick decisions to invest their money in Uganda.
The agricultural sector is broad, but the hereunder top eleven agricultural value chains have the most capacity for optimal and productive returns. Uganda Investment Authority researchers based the foregoing on four parameters i.e. size and depth of the value chain, growth potential, sustained regional and international competitiveness, and capacity to make productivity gains. I, therefore, enumerated to the Turkish investors the hereunder investment opportunities in agriculture and agro-processing;
a) Coffee: There is an opportunity to export Fairly Average Quality (FAQ). Considering the potential yield of 3.4 MT per hectare on the current area under coffee plantation at an average price of USD 1,370 per metric ton, there is a potential processing opportunity of 1.36 Million metric tons valued at USD $1.87 Billion per year.
b) Cocoa: There is an opportunity for large-scale commercial farming and processing of cocoa with aim of exporting to international markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, and India. Considering the available area under cocoa cultivation, production at a potential yield of 17.3 metric tons per hectare, and a price of USD $2,175 per metric ton of dried cocoa beans, there is a potential dried cocoa processing opportunity of 1.2 Million tons valued at USD $2.64 Billion per year.
c) Fish: With the available surface area of 649.95 km2 on Lake Albert and Victoria suitable for aquaculture, there is a cage farming opportunity. With a potential yield of 1.3 Metric tons per 18 cm3 cage, there is potential production volume of 18.3 Million metric tons valued at USD $31.8 Million can be achieved. Additionally, there is an opportunity for import substitution of 86,000 metric tons of fish feed valued at USD $112.8 Million per year.
d) Sesame: Considering the current area under sesame production with production at the potential yield of 1.25 metric tons and a market price of USD $1,876 per metric ton of sesame, there exists a potential of primary processing (cleaning) and exporting opportunity valued at USD $186 Million per year targeting premium markets such as Turkey, USA, Republic of Korea, Greece and Japan.
e) Soybean: With the current area under production for soybean and potential yield of 2.5 metric tons per hectare at a market price of USD $556 per ton, there exists a processing opportunity valued at USD $290 Million per year. This can be exported to markets such as Spain, France, and India that offer the highest prices in the world market.
f) Beans: There is an opportunity for large-scale commercial farming and processing with an aim of exporting to regional markets of Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Considering the available area under beans cultivation, production at a potential yield of 1.8 metrics per hectare, and a price of USD $982 per MT of beans, there is a potential dried bean processing opportunity of 476,000 metric tons valued at USD $468 Million per year considering that the conversion rate of processing beans is 95%.
g) Diary: There are an opportunity for large-scale processing and exportation of milk to Morocco, Tunisia, and Gulf Cooperation Council countries that are currently importing dairy products from Europe at higher prices. Considering the current number of milk-producing animals each with a potential production yield of 5,755 liters per annum and a price of USD $1 per liter of milk, there is a potential processing opportunity of 6.1 Billion liters valued at USD $6.1 Billion.
h) Maize: Large-scale commercial farming and processing with an aim of exporting to regional markets such as South Sudan, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Considering the available area under maize cultivation, the potential production yield of 6 metric tons per hectare, and a price of USD $500 per metric ton of flour, there is a potential processing opportunity of 5.4 Million metric tons valued at USD $2.69 Billion per year.
i) Cassava: There is an opportunity for large-scale commercial farming and processing of cassava flour with an aim of exporting to China that imports 2.7 Million MT of cassava flour annually. Considering the available area under cassava cultivation, production at a potential yield of 23 MT per ha, a conversion ratio of 0.75 from cassava chips to flour, and a price of USD 273 per MT of flour, there is a potential flour processing opportunity of 27 Million MT valued at USD 7.4 Billion.
j) Poultry: There is an opportunity to fill the projected (2025) dressed chicken demand-supply gap of 57,100 metric tons valued at USD $235 Million at a market price of USD 4,110 per metric ton. There is also an opportunity to establish hatcheries to meet the Day-Old Chicks (DOC) demand-supply gap of 41 Million Day Old Chicks valued at USD $28 Million.
Additionally, there exists an opportunity to venture into large-scale layer farms to fill the projected regional egg demand-supply gap of 291 million eggs valued at USD $26.6 Million.
k) Rice: Large scale rice commercial farming and contract farming through established farmer groups in Northern and Eastern Uganda. Given the available area under rice cultivation, the potential production yield of 5 metric tons per hectare, and an average price of USD 1,041 per metric ton, there exists a potential processing opportunity of 0.9 Million metric tons valued at USD $2.7 Billion per year to meet the local demand gap.
At Dubai Expo 2020, President Yoweri Museveni announced to investors around the world, that for Uganda, it is the right time and right place for profitable investments. This is it!
Morrison Rwakakamba is the Chairman of the Board, Uganda Investment Authority