Until about 2006, fish exports from Lake Victoria were a real success, almost overtaking coffee as Uganda’s most important foreign exchange earner. However, during the last half decade, fish catches have declined rapidly along with the decline in fish. The sector suffers from a very tangible lack of regulation of the fisheries resource. In contrast, Ugandan milk production has boomed since the mid 1990s, and while the quality of the milk used to be highly questionable due to practices such as diluting milk and boiling it in sauce-pans, quality has gradually improved due to regulatory initiatives. This paper sets out to explain the puzzle as to why regulation of the dairy sector has been relatively successful, while it has failed in the fish sector, which was about to overtake coffee as Uganda’s primary export commodity. In the milk sector, the regulatory agency emerges as a “pocket of efficiency” while the national agency in charge of managing the fisheries is rather weak. Through a political-economic approach focusing on the structure of the ruling coalition I try to understand the differences between the sectors. I use a framework that focuses on the important actors in the sector and their relations to the political elite.
political economy; Uganda, Pouctive sectors
Main Research Area:
ECAS4 conference, Panel 69: Pockets of efficiency in the neo-patrimonial state: hotbeds for the return of the developmental state in Africa, 2011