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Farmers countrywide to receive seeds from NARO

By Prossy Nandudu

Added 17th October 2018 12:00 AM

This is part of the renewed working relationship between NARO and UNFEE

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Dr Henry Wagaba explaining disease resistant cassava to farmer leaders at Namulonge. Photo by Prossy Nandudu

This is part of the renewed working relationship between NARO and UNFEE

Farmers under the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) are to get quality seed directly from the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), a move that will prevent farmers from buying counterfeit seeds.

This is part of the renewed working relationship between NARO and UNFEE.

This was revealed by the president of UNFFE, Dr Dick Kamuganga, in a meeting with farmer representatives from across the country at the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) in Namulonge.

Kamuganga said under the MoU that will be signed in a few weeks’ time, UNFFE will be getting seed from NARO and then channel it through the district farmers’ associations. These will in turn distribute seed to farmers in their localities and this will be implemented in the next planting season.

Kamuganga however said farmers will be required to pay some small fee that will be agreed upon for like transportation but will be assured of quality seed.

“NARO is already producing seed; we can make an arrangement as UNFFE so we can get seed from NARO and distribute it through DFAs. Farmers are getting grain, coloured as seed, and sold at a high cost but results are always poor,” said Kamuganga.

According to Kamuganga, farmers are faced with challenges such as pests and diseases, fake agro inputs including seed, and inadequate information on latest innovations in research.

“Some people are misinterpreting what is in the laboratories so we need to separate the bad noise on scientific researches meant for farmers and promote the good science that increases production and nutrition through fortified crops,” he added.

The meeting was convened by the Science Foundation for Livelihoods and Development (SCIFODE) through the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA) Plus project, with support from NaCRRI to show farmer leaders progress made in research on cassava diseases like the cassava brown streak disease and Cassava mosaic.

Arthur Makara from SCIEFODE explained cassava diseases and pest have been the main challenge for farmers, hence the meeting so researchers can explain and show farmers progress being made in research on cassava.

Explaining to farmers about cassava research, Dr Henry Wagaba the in charge of the biotechnology laboratory that is working on resistant cassava varieties to the two diseases, said they have already developed varieties that are resistant through the biotechnology but these cannot be released to farmers at the moment.

“We have the varieties but you cannot take them, and as researchers, we cannot release them because there is no allowing us to release, consume or even use anything produced under the biotechnology,” he said.

Currently the law that would allow such crops to be released is still in Parliament through the Biosafety and Biotechnology Bill. The Bill, if passed into law will regulate the use, release, consumption or marketing of crops produced through biotechnology.

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