Commercial tobacco growing in Uganda began in 1927 and currently the crop is grown in four regions in Bunyoro in mid Western Uganda, West Nile in the North West of the country (Arua, Koboko, Yumbe and Maracha districts), North Kigezi in South Western Uganda and the Middle North of the country. Tobacco production occupies 0.32% of total arable land in Uganda. Uganda is roughly the size of Austria, and is situated just North of the Great Lake Victoria. Uganda is lush and is supplied with water from good rainfall, and a host of lakes that surround the country on all borders except the north, which is the country of South Sudan.
There are three commercially grown tobacco types; including Flue cured Virginia, Burley (air-cured), and Dark fire cured tobacco. British American Tobacco Uganda does not contract production of DFC tobacco. The tobacco crop is one of the most regulated crops in the country and the Tobacco Act governs the industry. Areas for production are highly regulated, as are the inputs to be used or prohibited (good for the smokers!), leaf buying regulations and the tobacco types.
Small-scale farmers who are registered with one of the five tobacco companies in Uganda, who provide seedlings, inputs and training for their contracted farmers. Obviously the country of Uganda is in need of a way to export the tobacco crop each year, so that it is not wasted in storage or transit. Due to high humidity in the country, it is necessary for a well structured facility to keep the cured crop stored in an optimal way. With improvements to the infrastructure of the agricultural sector, Uganda could be on the verge of growing their next cash crop.
Commercial tobacco growing in Uganda began in 1927 and the crop is currently grown in 25 of 112 districts. Approximately 75,000 farmers grow tobacco in Uganda and the crop has a market value of more than $80 million USD in 2013, making tobacco one of Uganda’s top 10 revenue sources. There are now stricter laws when it comes to growing tobacco within Uganda. There are three commercially grown tobacco types, including flue-cured Virginia, burley (air-cured), and dark fire–cured tobacco. Tobacco is one of the most regulated crops in the country. Areas for production are regulated, as are the inputs to be used or prohibited, leaf buying, and tobacco types. Extreme regulation results in delayed scheduling, legal difficulties, and more surveillance within the farmland. This frustrates the local farmers who are trying to make a decent wage for the work they are putting into the soil. By whatever means necessary they will strive to continue their duty, as long as there is going to be money to feed their families. Although the laws have become increasingly difficult, it does not stop the farmers from taking their lands and growing crops of multiple types, crop rotation is also a strategy implemented by some communities. Crop rotation has become a goal that will the communities into this coming decade, which is well on its way. The focus is coffee, because it takes the same time as tobacco to grow, and yields roughly the same profits. At the end of the day, the people of Uganda want to achieve successful results withing their region, so they can set an example that is positive to the youth of the nation. Things are looking up for those who are willing to adapt to crop rotation. Without the seeds to grow, they must switch to whatever is available. This can result in impatient crop turnover, and weather along with natural pests can overrun a crop within weeks. Communities are working together to solve their problems, and the expanding visions are spreading to the youth as a source of livelihood. Unity is key.