Item Details

Title: Expansion of Commercial Sugarcane Cultivation among Smallholder Farmers in Uganda: Implications for Household Food Security

Date Published: 2018
Author/s: Edward N. Mwavu, Vettes K. Kalema, Fred Bateganya, Patrick Byakagaba, Daniel Waiswa, Thomas Enuru and Michael S. Mbogga
Data publication:
Funding Agency :
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Journal Publisher:
Affiliation: School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala,
Uganda; (P.B.); (D.W.); (T.E.); (M.S.M.)
2 Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute, P.O. Box 421, Kabale, Uganda;
3 College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda;
Keywords: poverty alleviation; sustainable livelihoods; climate change; commercial agriculture


Understanding the impact of commercial agriculture in the face of global change is
critical to support strategies that ensure food security and alleviate poverty among households.
We assessed the contribution of commercial sugarcane cultivation to household-level food security
among smallholder farmers in Busoga sub-region, eastern Uganda. Land use changes are motivated
by quick commercial gains rather than sustained food production; a situation that influences food
security. The majority of households cultivate few crop varieties, lack adequate and nutritious
foods, and have inadequate income to purchase food to meet their needs. Inadequacy of food
within some commercial sugarcane-cultivating households suggests that generating income does
not necessarily increase food security. To cope with food insecurity, households offer labour in
exchange for food, borrow food, ration food, and at times steal. This is exacerbated by increasing food
crop failures, large family sizes, trade in food items, and declining availability of food and land for
food production. Commercial sugarcane cultivation is the main driver of food insecurity but given
its perceived economic benefits, future sugarcane plantations expansion in the region is probably
inevitable. Therefore, future policy should be designed to provide triple-win strategies (i.e., food
security, poverty alleviation, and climate change adaptation) that provide sustainable livelihoods