Grain production in Uganda is dominated by smaller holder farmers that account for 95 percent of the production. The other 5 percent is by commercial farmers. Commercial production is limited mainly to Maize, Rice and Sorghum. The smallholder farmers cultivate small pieces of land of 0.2-0.5 hectares; use basic technology, home saved local seeds and poor crop husbandry practices. Commercial farmers on the other hand cultivate 0.8-2.0 hectares, use improved seeds, and follow the recommended crop husbandry practices.
Maize is the most important cereal crop grown in Uganda. It is a major part for both rural and urban communities, prisons and institutions in Uganda. Maize provides employment to farm households, transporters, produce buyers, processors and exporters. Rice is the most traded food commodity across borders in the East Africa Community region. Rice is second to maize as the food commodity most imported as well as most exported from the East Africa Community. Over years the consumption of rice in the East Africa Community has been increasing due the change of eating habits with urbanization. In Uganda, rice is the second most important cereal crop after maize in terms of production volume. It is mostly grown by smallholder farmers for income although part of household production is retained for consumption.
Due to a number of interventions by government and Non Government Organization the production of both upland and lowland rice has been increasing. In order to meet the increasing domestic demand, Uganda imports significant quantities of rice to supplement local production. Although the grains and pulses play an important role in food security and household income, the sub sector faces challenges that include; un predictable weather pattern, lack of reliable market information, inadequate financial resources and high loan interest rates, high production costs, poor post harvest handling and lack of storage poor and quality standards of agricultural produce. The Matching Grants will support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the grains and pulses sub sectors to improve quality standards and marketing both domestically and abroad.