- Training Programs
- our sites
- our work
- ways to give
- contact us
Small-scale agriculture is by far the most important sector of the Ugandan economy, particularly in rural areas. This creates a trade pattern of exports dominated by agricultural products and imports dominated by manufactured goods. The economy is heavily dependent on coffee, which accounts for around 55 percent of export earnings. Coffee prices, like those of most agricultural commodities, are extremely volatile, and growing coffee is incredibly sensitive to global climate conditions. Thus, many of the gains achieved through painfully negotiated debt relief may be almost wiped out by a fall in export earnings resulting from a decrease in the price of a single commodity or the shift in climate. Because of Uganda's dependence on agricultural commodities and its lack of diversification, the rural economy, not the urban economy, is the most important in terms of national wealth and individual well-being.
Members of the rural economy still rely almost entirely on their own and family labor; they collect water by hand, gather firewood by hand, dig by hand, and harvest by hand. Less than nine percent of the Ugandan population has regular access to electricity, and about 90 percent of Uganda's total energy requirements are met using firewood and charcoal. So much agricultural work carried out at a small scale by unpaid family workers means that a significant sector of the economy is classified as "non-monetary" or "informal." For many Ugandans, the concept of a "market" is a distant one, as their first priority is to meet their own immediate survival needs. The so-called "informal sector" now dominates the Ugandan economy, both in the number of people participating in informal work and the value this informal economic activity adds to the national economy.
Keeping communities physically healthy, encouraging resource sharing, and building microeconomic opportunities are critical to removing rural poverty traps in Uganda. With HIV robbing Ugandan society of its most productive members, rural communities suffer without solution. The virus has built much superstition and fear into rural cultures, which is a problem that can only be solved by resources and education. FSD works with development organizations that educate communities about the realities of HIV/AIDS and STDs, offer economic opportunity, and provide counseling to those in need. By offering many types of vocational trainings and gathering places for members to share ideas, FSD puts interns and volunteers at the heart of communities to listen, learn, and deliver sustainable solutions.
Read more about Applied Technology programs and opportunities initiated by our Community Partners in Uganda.
Click here to return back to the Uganda home page.