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Grain value chain/Uganda - Farmers urge Government to support local seeds

14 September 2015

Speaking during a seed dialogue in Kampala, smallholder farmers under their umbrella body, Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale farmers' forum (ESAFF- Uganda), implored government to encourage the use of local seeds for crop production and multiplication to avoid counterfeits in the certified seeds market. According to farmers, most certified seeds especially those freely given out by National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) and Operation Wealth Creation programme were not germinating in some areas, and government policies tend to favor commercial seed manufacturers yet they have limited varieties of hybrid cereals. ESAFF called for urgent action from the government to stabilize the market which has been infiltrated by counterfeits. However much, the department of crop protection at the ministry of agriculture certifies seed companies, with the aim of ensuring that the right quality of seeds is released, but farmers are unable to tell between the counterfeit and genuine seeds. Smallholder farmers disclosed that, seeds bought from certified companies did not germinate or when they germinate, the harvest is small and of poor quality. Nevertheless, when they use local seeds the harvest is good. They urged Uganda government to prioritize farmer-managed systems for the production and distribution of seeds, and conduct research on the soil and weather before distributing the seeds. According to ESAFF’s chairperson, the issue of extension workers needs to be addressed. This comes due to few extension officers at village level and those who are there are not qualified. Meanwhile, according to seed certification officer from the ministry of agriculture, local seeds contribute up to 80 per cent of seeds planted while certified seeds take only 20 per cent. Uganda has between 20 and 25 certified companies producing only 20 per cent of the seeds in the market which means that small-scale farmers use majorly local seeds. This implies, indigenous seeds are still relevant and can help deliver food security in Uganda.




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