Barley is the fourth most important cereal in the world, after wheat, corn, and rice. 70% of barley is used for feed, while 21% is used in the malting, brewing, and distilling industries. Le Barley is the fourth most important cereal in the world, after wheat, corn, and rice. 70% of barley is used for feed, while 21% is used in the malting, brewing, and distilling industries. Less than 6% is consumed as human food. In Uganda, barley is grown on the slopes of Mount Elgon districts (Bukwo, Kapchorwa, Kween, Mbale, and Namisindwa) and the Kigezi highlands districts (Kabale, Kisoro, Rubanda, Kanugu) and the Rwenzori ranges (Budibugyo, Kasese, Kabarole). Altitude plays an important role through its influence on rainfall, temperature, and diseases.
NARO, through Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (BugiZARDI), is conducting research on the production of barley varieties that can grow in low altitudes to increase production.
According to UBL’s managing director, Andrew Kironzo, they plan to invest at least 45 billion UGX every year in the production of barley, with the biggest chunk of this going into research and farmers. UBL also plans to work with farmer groups to equip them with logistical inputs like tractors and other high-tech facilities used in large-scale production.
The Sebei Elgon Cooperative Society in Kapchorwa is the leading producer of barley in the country, although it’s still below the required tonnage by the brewery. The region has about 200 barley farmers whom the cooperative is encouraging to join so as to aggregate their produce for bulking and improved marketing. The prices of barley and sorghum have been increasing by at least 10% in the last couple of years in response to market demand and the cost of inputs.