68% of Uganda’s households are engaged in subsistence rain-fed agriculture that relies largely on the home-saved seed.
MASINDI-Many households in Uganda derive their livelihoods from Agriculture. However, the inevitability, inaccessibility, and unaffordability of quality seed has always kept many in poverty because of low yield yet some toil harder.
Also, the lack of regulation to guide the promotion of the quality seed was a big challenge which was making way for many seed companies to supply fake seeds to the farmers.
However, in 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal industry and fisheries (MAAIF) drafted a policy titled The National Seed Policy 2018 to contribute to increased use of quality seed of improved varieties for domestic, regional, and international markets.
Despite the drafting of the Seed Policy, little had been done to ensure that the policy guidelines are implemented despite all-district having extension workers.
It is against this background that MAAIF in partnership with The Integrated Seed Sector Development programme in Uganda (ISSD Uganda) decided to organize national dissemination meetings to sensitize the District Agricultural Officer (DAOs) and farmer representative especially from the district farmer's association about the need to implement the policy.
The Seed Policy Dissemination Meeting took place in Masindi District Council Hall recently and was attended by DAOs from all district of Bunyoro region.
Consolata Acayo, the assistant Commissioner Information and Communication from the Directorate of Agricultural Extension, MAAIF said that the policy was lying in the shelves yet the aim of drafting it was to foster growth and development of a vibrant seed sub-sector in Uganda.
She added that the disseminations are aimed at helping stakeholders who are supposed to implement it.
She revealed that currently, 68% of Uganda's households are engaged in subsistence rain-fed agriculture that relies largely on the home-saved, the seed of low quality which results in low productivity and production. Hence the policy will change this mentality.
Charles Sendaaza, the agricultural inspector (Seeds) at MAAIF said that farmer's reliance on the home-made saved seed is caused by insufficient availability of affordable high-quality seed and lack of trust in the seed certified seed available in the market.
"Certified seed contributes only 15% of seed requirements. This is due to the inability of seed companies to supply the required quantities of certified seed and the limited capacity in the regulatory system, an estimated 30-40% of seed traded in the market," he said.
According to Sendaaza, hence the policy will address all the mentioned and other problems to ensure that Uganda exploits the huge opportunity in the regional and international seed market through an expanded, well-regulated and competitive seed-sector.
Enid Karungi, the DAO for Kiryandongo said it is true she was not aware that the seed policy was in place but after the meeting, she realized she needed to get it because it has all that it takes for her office to promote and also empower farmers to use quality seeds for higher yields.
James Ngenda, the chairman farmers' association Masindi said the policy implementation was long overdue hence calling upon the DAOs to ensure that they implement what the policy stipulates and the future for agriculture in Uganda will boom.
Richard Kizza, The Principal Chief Administration Officer (CAO) for Masindi district thanked MAAIF for coming up with the Seed Policy noting that it will help DAOs to carry out their activities effectively.
Kizza advised all farmers to ensure that they buy seeds from certified companies to avoid being duped in buying fake seeds.
He said fake seeds affect productivity so the government should ensure that it regulates all seed companies for the betterment of agriculture
Dr Bony Ntare, Seed System & Policy Consultant with ISSD Uganda said that the Seed Policy will be the main foundation for the development of the agricultural sector in Uganda and also ensure quality assurance for the Seed Sector.