According to Opolot Okaasai, the director of crop production at MAAIF, seven companies have so far registered for the pilot project dubbed, AgResults.
PIC: Opolot Wakaasai the director crop resources at the agriculture ministry during a media briefing at the ministry offices. (Julius Luwemba)
WAKISO - The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has announced plans to award private companies engaged in seed production and dissemination in a move aimed at promoting high quality seeds in agriculture sector.
According to Opolot Okaasai, the director of crop production at MAAIF, seven companies have so far registered for the pilot project dubbed, AgResults ever since it was officially launched in February 2017 by agriculture state minister Christopher Kibazanga .
The seven companies that have registered include CAII seeds, Equator Seeds ltd, Pearl Seeds, CEDO, OTIS Garden Seeds, Grow More Seeds and Victoria Seeds.
"The pilot projects are designed to incentivise the private sector to overcome market barriers and develop solutions to food security and agricultural challenges that eventually affect people living in poverty," Okaasai said.
The agriculture ministry is in a move to ensure quality seeds in the country (Courtesy photo)
This is one of the six global initiatives that are funded by five partners; Bill-Melinda Gates foundation, governments of Autralia, Canada, UK, Canada and the US.
According to Bushra Namirimu, the MAAIF public relations officer, the private sector-led seed verification process will involve tracing the source of foundation that the seed companies use, seed inspections as per national and The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) standards, laboratory seed testing, e-verification and independent audit of sales for each participating company.
Okaasai also noted that the project is aimed at building a stronger and more competitive local seed industry.
"As the ministry, we are projecting that the cumulative value of the seeds would be $2.5m and expect farmers to get $30m, courtesy of this annual competition," Okaasai said.
He, however, did not disclose the amount of money the winning companies will be awarded; only saying it will be some big sum.
According to Okaasai, the ministry hopes to extend the programme to other priority commodities such as maize and rice, among others.