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Message from the CEO


Welcome to UOSPA website. I am Mr. Agong Ray Bruno, the Cheif Executive officer UOSPA, the Association that was initiated to integrate modern and improved oil seed farming in Uganda…

Uganda Oil Seed Producers and Processors Association (UOSPA) is an umbrella association of oilseed crop producers (farming communities), oilseed crop processors and other oilseed crop stakeholders, including policy makers, traders, researchers and consumers of oilseed products. Its current membership stands at 65 small and medium milling industries country wide and 947 farmer groups comprising of 47,350 benefiting farmers.

Since its inception 1994, UOSPA has been coordinating and promoting production, processing and marketing of oilseed crops (sunflower, soyabeasns and simsim) with overall objective of contributing to poverty alleviation by improving food security, nutrition and income of rural households in the project districts. It is currently operating in 15 districts of the Bugishu, Teso, Lang and Acholi sub-regions. The district areSironko, Mbale, Bulambuli, Bukedea, Kumi and Ngora, Lira Apac, Dokolo, Aleptong, KoleOyam, Nwoya
and Gulu.

The Vegetable oilseed sector is one of the commodities earmarked by Government of Uganda as strategic commodity that has the potential for import substitution and for export to regional market (VOPD2, 2011). North-Eastern Uganda accounts for over 70% of the production and has been earmarked by government (through zoning programme) as the region with the highest geographical comparative advantage for oilseed crops (VODP, 2006). Emphasis on the sub sector as a trigger of development is focused on market and particular attention to rural smallholder farmers (PMA, 2000). Since 1995, several interventions have been carried by UOSPA and VODP1. This led to increased production thus attracting various stakeholders; public agencies and private investors, farmers and traders in the sector.

The contribution of the different actors has resulted into annual sector growth at a rate of 3% and a reduction in the importation of edible vegetable oil from 95% in 1995 to 70% export to regional market from 5% to 10% by 2010, (UOSPA 2008). This growth is as result of interventions such as coordination and formation of farmers organization, improvement of the available planting seeds through multiplication and distribution, increase of processing capacity, training and building the capacity of farmers to bargain for better prices, improve nutrition status of farmers household and collectively save money for investment.

On the farmers side, a number of income generating activities have cropped up alongside oilseed crop production and processing, for example apiary, production of animal feeds from oilseed cakes, farmer groups soap making from sunflower and Shea-nuts oils, auxiliary support services and small kiosks that buy and resale oil (VODP, 2007; FAO 2007; UOSPA, 2006). This has led to diversification of agriculture hence spreading of risk in oilseed farming.
The number of traders engaged in buying and selling edible vegetable oils (especially sunflower oil) has increased. Further, the growing of oil crops has increasingly become a source of income to household in the northern Uganda.

Changes in the Vegetable oil industry

Introduction of more sources of raw material for oilseed production (Soyabeans and Palm) besides sunflower which was before 2010 was sole raw material for vegetable oils. Increase investment in the processing industries by the private sector, from 5 oil mills in 1998 industries to 67 currently. This has increased the installed milling capacity from 300mt in 1998 to 1000mt per day (UOSPA, 2010), formation of Multi-stakeholders Oilseed Sub-sector Platform in 2009 to harmonize actors and have one voice for lobbing and advocacy. Increase in oilseed crop raw material production from 5,000 metric tone in 1995 to 120,000 metric tones by 2010 (FAOSTAT 2010), increasing national demand edible for vegetable oils from 62,000mt in 1998 to 216,000mt and decrease in importation of vegetable oil from 95% in 1998 to 70 % currently

Challenges in oils sub-sector value chain

Limited usage of productivity enhancement inputs

Limited accessibility and usage of productivity enhancement inputs by the majority of the producers, less than 1% using fertilizer in their production (PSFU report, 2012), limited supply of quality improved planting seeds 100% of sunflower hybrids seed is being imported from outside Uganda (South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya). However, in 2011 two hybrid sunflower varieties (Sesun1H and Sesun2H) developed in Uganda were release but no seed company has taken up multiplication


Low production in terms of quantity and quality, limited area under crop, limited mechanization and credit is not smallholder farmers friendly thus most producers can not access to boost production. Farmers are still practicing subsistence cropping to secure their food supplies. The slow growth in production is hinged on a number of factors including; poor seed quality limiting the total crushable raw material supply, insufficient productivity enhancing technologies, high post-harvest losses both at farmer level and industrial level, high operational costs, poor infrastructure as well as poorly organized and uncontrolled markets.

Farmers ability to open more land is limited to hand labor and could be enhanced by the re-introduction of oxen. In the longer term, mechanization should  be able to increase productivity.


Inadequate working capital for small and medium scale processors leading to processing capacity being underutilized (40%), there is insufficient mill management skills and utilities expensive (electricity
expensive and intermittent etc)

There is limited awareness in food safety and standard measures among both the producers and processors, poor pre-harvest and post harvest handling like; exposure of seeds to excessive moisture, poor storage, drying of sunflower grains on bare grounds. Beside there are poor postharvest technologies being used by the producers like; rudimentary winnower resulting to partial removal of rotten seeds from cleans seeds. 20-30% of the oilseed and its product are being wasted because of poor post harvest handling (KARRI, 2011.

Currently 90% of oil seed crop producers still dry oilseed grains on bare ground with high chances of seeds being mixed with sand and domestic livestock droppings including damping of spread seeds on the bare ground by moist ground. While 100% of farmer organizations engaged in oilseed crops production and marketing have no moisture testing equipments ( the dryness of produce) thus storing and marketing oilseed grains at high moisture content promoting growth of aflatoxin in storage. Standards moisture content of sunflower grains 9-10%, however due to poor method of determining moisture content by farmers (through biting) most produce sold to milling industries is at 15% moisture content. At storage farmers placed sunflower bags directly on to the ground leading to seed damping or moulding. Poor storage hygiene is also major problem for both producers and processors, resulting to grains in stores being eaten up


Non transparent markets (middlemen), poor infrastructures (roads and storage facilities) underdeveloped collection points, poor product quality and weak market information system and uncoordinated marketing system

The oilseed market at the farmer level is not properly organized in that farmers attempt to immediately sell their produce to the available outlet at harvesting. This is done by selling to brokers at farm gate, or directly to small scale millers in the growing area. Farmers falling under this arrangement tend to lose a lot at peak/harvest season. Later on in the season, there is no seed for milling a situation that could have been corrected through establishment of a storage capacity to absorb excess during the harvesting period. An organized marketing system could secure more equitable income earnings. This could be through structured collection, storage and pricing of commodities and prompt payment guarantees.

During marketing, vegetable oil retailers at village and small town markets re-pack oils in used containers/bottles. The process of re-packing involves empting of oils from the original packaging containers into open containers exposing it to dirt/dust, micro-organisms and excessive heat, lowering the quality of the oils and its self-live There is limited labeling of the oils supply to market, 40% of the small processors do not have labels on their products making it very difficult to provide remedial actions in case of adulteration. Non-labeling of the containers means not abiding by the instructions like; date of expiry, use(s) of the product, ingredients added and or food value composition. In this way making the producers less competitive in world market and consumers ignorant of the expiry date

Currently, out of 65 small and medium oil millers in the two regions, only one has refineries (Gurnanak Oil mill) and less than 10% have been certified by ISO making them less competitive in the international market (UOSPA Scoping Mission, 2006)


Insufficient variety development, low funding of national research network, limited private sector support to research institution, little international linkage, Poor research to extension  farmer linkage.


Low levels of government policy implementation and enforcement especially on planting seed quality assurance resulting into increased poor quality seeds in the market.


Little farmers’ mobilization, Weak farmers organizations, weak processor organizations and financial services not attuned to farmers needs (products and institutions)


Upward increasing market trend for Vegetable Oils:Rising global demand for vegetable oils has led to a significant structural change in the supply-demand balance and much stronger prices. Analysts generally agree that the next decade will see higher price levels than have prevailed in the last 20 years or so (Oils and Fats International, 2010). The opportunities for vegetable oil development are particularly strong in Uganda, since about half of the domestic market is supplied by imports and could be replaced by national production. Domestic demand is growing at an average rate of around 9% per annum (3% due to population growth and the remaining 6% attributable to increasing incomes). Kenya and Rwanda imported over 90% of their vegetable oil requirements in 2008, while Tanzania imported 76% while the Sudan imported 54% (VODP, 2008). Only the Democratic Republic of Congo that produces close to 90% of its needs and has good potential to produce oil palm who imports less than ten percent of its vegetable oil demand. Thus, the regional and national markets are expected to be able to absorb all of the vegetable oil produced by Uganda without fall in  price   in the face of growing production (Uganda, 34 million, East Africa, 135million and COMESA, 500million).

Large gap in per capita consumption-increasing demand: Compared to a global average consumption of oils and fats of 22.4kg/year/person, Uganda reached 6.4kg/year/person in 2010, up from 3.9 kg/year/person in 2000. Uganda continues to import about 60-70% of its edible oil and soap needs, as do most of the neighboring countries in East Africa. Population growth, multiple uses of oils- used by the industry in the manufacture of soaps, detergents, cosmetics, plasticizers, stabilizers, lubricants, grease, pharmaceuticals, animal feeds, infant foods, as emulsifier in food and non-food applications, paints and varnishes, biofuel and its by-products largely demanded for livestock feeds will continue to fuel an annual growth rate of 9% in domestic and regional demand for vegetable oil and its by-products for the foreseeable future (VODP, 2010).