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Okra trying to find its feet in Uganda

By Ruth Nanfuka

Added 8th June 2017 09:27 AM

“Many farmers don’t know this; very few grow it, with many preferring to grow vegetables like tomatoes."

Okra 703x422

“Many farmers don’t know this; very few grow it, with many preferring to grow vegetables like tomatoes."

(Credit: Ruth Nanfuka)

Okra or okro is a fast-growing and high-value crop but only a few farmers in Uganda have taken the initiative to grow it.

Justine Nabirye, a trader at Nakasero market says okra is a highly demanded vegetable in the market but the price has hiked for the past two months.

“A box of okra costs sh80, 000 which previously was at sh60, 000," she says.

Isam Kakande, a prominent vegetable and fruit farmer in Semuto in Wakiso district, says okra is one of the few crops whose local and foreign market demand is increasing steadily.

“Many farmers don’t know this; very few grow it, with many preferring to grow vegetables like tomatoes."

According to Kakande, okra can be planted or sowed directly into the soil because it is difficult to transplant them. The favourable time of planting is during warm periods.

The seeds can be bought from farm supply shops at a cost of sh1,500 a packet. However Kakande adds that many of the okra seeds sold on the local market are of poor quality.

“We still lack genuine okra seeds here. Low grade okra fetches low prices on the international market yet the market is there. The good quality seeds from abroad are expensive and many farmers cannot afford to buy them,” he says.

Kalerwe market vegetable and fruit seller Alice Nalule says okra supply on the market is small, which she says increases the price of the vegetable.

However, the local demand for the vegetable is still low because it’s mainly Asians who consume it.

“A kilo of first grade okra goes for sh8,000-9,000 while the low grade is at sh5,000-6,000. But the price can go up to sh11,000 a kilo during times when the supply is scarce,” says Nalule.

 

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