Uganda has seen significant economic progress over the past two decades. GDP growth has increased from 6.5 percent per year in the 1990s to over 7 percent per year in the 2000s (World Bank). However, global economic shocks, high inflation, and other domestic factors have slowed this growth since 2009; GDP is expected to grow by only 4.3 percent in 2001-12 and to not exceed 5 percent in 2012-13 (World Bank). With per capita income of US$490 in 2010, Uganda remains a poor country.

Uganda has surpassed the Millennium Development Goal of halving its poverty rate by 2015, with the proportion of people living in poverty falling from 56 percent in 1992 to 24.5 percent in 2010 (World Bank). Despite this progress, the absolute number of poor people has increased due to high population growth, and the incidence of poverty in rural areas remains high at 30 percent (IFAD).

Eighty-seven percent of Ugandans live in rural areas, including hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers (IFAD). Lack of access to inputs and infrastructure such as roads, as well as weak market linkages, prevent many farmers from benefiting from the country’s steady economic growth. Highly variable rainfall and soil fertility also pose challenges for agricultural productivity. While some parts of Uganda have two annual agricultural production seasons, other regions have only one season, increasing the impacts of negative weather events and low yields (WFP).