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Agricultural Strategy Planning
Uganda Agricultural Physical Strategy
Annex to NPDP 

Increasing agricultural productivity is the backbone of Uganda's economic development.


  • Preserving Agricultural clusters by constraining Urban Development in them.

  • Identifying and protecting Strategic Agricultural Zones.

  • Constraining urban development, sub-division of land, and fighting settlements sprawl.

This option considers the implications for an NPDP of Uganda's  geographical disposition of its physical characteristics in terms of land which is suitable for agriculture. use in terms of its extent and significance, it is the economic and social backbone of Uganda.  This option focuses on how to enhance the agricultural sector, by factoring in its Strategic Agricultural Zones (SAZs). The main benefit of this orientation is that it draws on favored clusters of crops to create an agricultural sector that is organized and regulated in a manner that will enable modernization and a move toward high-tech commercial agriculture.

By focusing on one or several products to be prioritized in each SAZ, this structure is aimed at giving the tools - and changing the mindset - towards moving agriculture from individual subsistence to cooperation and development of agro-processing industries. Indeed, modernizing farming practices and consolidating agricultural land is the main step towards making sure the rapidly growing population will be able to sustain itself, as the projections of land use in Section 4 above show. This orientation is also directed at the need to increase the availability of arable land in order to achieve long-term sustainability, by transforming grassland into cultivated lands.

An important objective and concept here is also the need to match urban growth with agricultural zones, as this option designates areas of Secondary Agricultural Land for urban development. Five new cities of approx. 250K inhabitants - in addition to the two satellite cities around Kampala - are planned outside or on the border of the SAZs. By creating this distinction between strategic and secondary zones, the option allows resources to be focused on two important aspects of economic and social development: targeted investment of commercial agriculture in certain areas and on specific products; and orderly urbanization in locations all over the country designated for urban and rurban development, in zones where this does not interfere with the development of agriculture.

The SAZs serve as a framework for consolidating agricultural plots and stopping subdivision (which is the only long-term sustainable option, even for subsistence farming), for instance by moving rural hamlets into planned settlements. Further benefits of SAZs include making access to clean water easier, and developing value chains and supporting services such as marketing, storage, quality assurance, financial support, transportation and export. Overall, prioritizing agriculture.

Agricultural clusters represent the governmental strategic policy for matching major crops, for local consumption and export, with specific districts. In this option, the clusters have been processed and mapped according to their main production, and they have been designated as Strategic Agricultural Zones for food and cash crops. Only a limited amount of urbanization activities are suggested in these zones. Some areas have also been added from other land uses to the Strategic Agricultural Zones in order to meet increasing demands, most notably large parts of Karamoja which are still classified as "Hunting Areas".

Total Required Agricultural Strategic Lands area is approx. 126,000 km2.

This number refers to the brown area in the map and includes Karamojong region, seasonal wetlands and settlements footprint inside the agricultural lands, while protected areas, water bodies and permanent wetlands are excluded.

  • According to the projected 2040 land use balance sheet, this inventory should provide the country's agriculture needs up to the target year and even beyond without utilizing any of the secondary agricultural lands. It should be emphasized that Agricultural land use projection is based on a presupposition of yield multiplied by 3.

  • All other open lands, which are not included in the category of SAZs or protected areas, can be designated as "Secondary Agricultural Zones".

  • The precise definition of SAZs will be decided at District Plan level, and carried down to Sub-County level such that the total areas of primary and secondary agricultural zones are designated and monitored, but the national framework for regions is the following:

Agricultural Crops Specialization and Natural Resources

As already stated, the NPDP schematically identifies the crop specialization areas as Strategic Agricultural Zones, the Secondary Zones which are of less strategic significance, often combine with the presence of the cattle corridor, and provide the potential for urban expansion.

Strategic Agricultural Lands:

The total land area in Uganda is approx. 241,000 km². Agriculture is the largest land-consuming economic activity. These Strategic Agricultural Zones (SAZs) are based on 12 agricultural clusters which were determined by MAAIF, while adding new areas to them due to the expected – and urgent – growing need for arable land (mainly the extensive terrains in the north-east- Karamojong lands).

Agricultural clusters are areas characterized by ecological attributes, to which a cluster of strategic crops are matched and suggested for production. Their development as Strategic Agricultural Zones is aimed at creating a concentration of producers, agribusinesses and institutions, usually in the same sector, addressing common challenges and opportunities, with the overall aim of facilitating consolidation and moving towards modern agriculture.

When placed together, clusters create a sequence of Strategic Agricultural Land in which the majority of agricultural activities will take place, whether for consumption or for export. Land will be used for food, cash crops, pasture, and forestry, as well as for the conservation of the open land and landscape of the country. 

Secondary Agricultural Lands

These are areas that for strategic reasons are not prioritized as SAZs, being located either on land that is either less suitable for commercial agriculture or offers better opportunities for urbanization. In these areas, agricultural production and consolidation will also take place, however - as their name suggests - they will be of secondary importance. Instead, these zones will provide the space needed for mixed development agriculture, as well as urban and rurban areas to accommodate the growing population.

AGUR Blocks

The AGUR Blocks initiative offers an original paradigm for modern agricultural living. These are hubs for agricultural industries, biotechnologies and value-added, small- and medium enterprises.

It is a Special Economic Zone, aimed at strengthening the currently dominant agricultural sector by modernizing it and complementing it with a strong industrial sector, particularly regarding value additions to existing natural resources.

AGUR blocks bring innovative hybrid agricultural and urban typologies into close dialogue. A such, this approach to spatial zoning can describe an "Agropolitan" territory for living, in which inhabitants of any settlement must not only actively produce their own food, but also mediate the space of their collective living with the natural environment while sustaining effective agricultural production and export products.

Rwanda Agricultural Policy
Annex to NLUDMP
rwanda TEA FIELDS.jpg

Agriculture in Rwanda has many challenges, including the availability of land and water; climate change; market accessibility etc. A number of these challenges can be addressed within the framework of a spatial plan, namely the availability, protection and development of the agricultural lands, and development of supporting infrastructure, such as transportation infrastructure to access markets and processing industry.

The main product of our work is a dynamic model that allows planners and policy makers to analyze how much agricultural land is needed in Rwanda, currently and in the future, in the country as a whole and in specific districts or urban areas, according to the size of population considered and its nutritional needs.

The model enables to integrate and "translate" number of people, and their nutritional needs (calories, protein etc.) into hectares of agricultural land. The main achievement of the model is the linkage it makes between the population's needs for food and the land needed to provide these needs.

The model is dynamic, and allows the integration of different parameters, data, assumptions and projections. The planning team is proud to supply Rwanda's policy makers with this tool, which is a "playground" for decision-making.

Policy Brief


Agriculture plays a major role in Rwanda's national planning. One of the six Pillars of Rwanda's VISION 2020 is: Productive high value and market-oriented agriculture. The task for NLUDMP is to provide the spatial infrastructure needed to realize this goal.

Agriculture in Rwanda plays a dual role, in generating income and foreign currency through the export of agricultural products (mainly coffee and tea) and in generating food for the local population.

Given the size of the country and population, a main question to be asked is whether it is possible to feed the local population (today and in 30 years from now) given the limited arable land. This is the main question that is addressed in this report.

The food needs of the growing population of Rwanda were analyzed based on 3 scenarios regarding agricultural yields' development, in order to calculate the size of the agricultural land needed for protection within the NLUDMP.

In a business as usual scenario, given the current crops' yields - the farmland in Rwanda will not be sufficient to feed 22 million people in 2050 (chapter 3.4 of this report).

In a realistic scenario where, within 20 years, 80% of farmers are commercial and the consumption of livestock products rises to 10% of the diet - the farmland in Rwanda is still not sufficient to provide food for a population of 22 million people, but for less than half of them (chapter 3.4 of this report)

Even if the yields in Rwanda improve to the best practice - the existing farmland cannot provide food for 22 million people. Given the topography, the climate and competition over land, this scenario is uncertain (chapter 3.4 of this report).

The recommendation is therefore to protect the current agricultural land of 10,949 Sq. Km, and enlarge it as much as possible, given the demand for other land use (see the National Land Use Balance Sheet of NLUDMP 2050).

Agriculture should account for less than 10% of GDP in 2050. This does not mean that agriculture's value should decrease; on the contrary it should dramatically increase. However, the economic value of industry and services should increase in larger rates than agricultural GDP, so that its relative share will be 10% of the total economy (chapter 6.1 of this report).

In the Eastern, Northern and Southern districts (the LUCA A areas in NLUDMP 2050) agriculture should be developed further, so that cultivated land grows in size, and yields improve dramatically. However, in the Western districts, where landslides prevail, other economic sectors should be emphasized.

In 2050, the agricultural land / farm (household) ration should be around 0.75 hectares per farm (household). About 8.4% of the workforce will be employed in commercial agriculture (chapter 6.2 of this report).

Based on all these recommendations, in 2050 Rwanda will fulfill its vision of a nation that enjoys food security, nutritional health and sustainable agricultural growth from a productive, green and market-led agricultural sector.

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