By John Masaba
The Government has announced plans to enact a law to help the country deal with the increasing menace of fake seeds on the market.
Agriculture ministry assistant commissioner in charge of food and nutrition security Alex Bamboona says the law, currently at the drafting process stage, will make it expensive to deal in fake seeds in the country.
“For all seed in the country, we have put in place an e-traceability mechanism to capture culprits, but there is a problem of the law,” he says.
“We are trying to revise it and tighten things so that it is expensive to indulge in malpractices,” Bamboona adds.
He says there are enough guidelines to ensure quality seed reaches farmers, but these are being sidestepped by profit-hungry individuals and seed companies.
“The area of concern is the companies in the supply chain; we need strong mechanisms to ensure the regulatory framework is adhered to,” Bamboona adds.
Bamboona was speaking on Wednesday during a stakeholder meeting to take stock of progress so far made and challenges that still persist in the journey to help the northern region recover from the war perpetuated by the Joseph Kony-led Lord’s Resistance Army.
The event, which was also attended by Members of Parliament and LC chairpersons from the region, was organised by Advance Afrika under the auspices of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) in co-ordination with the Office of the Prime Minister.
Funded by the European Union, DINU seeks to foster linkages between smallholder farmers, agro-processors and market operators through the promotion of production and marketability of 10 commodities including groundnuts, onions, tomatoes, moringa, apiary, local poultry, Irish potatoes, beans, soya beans and vegetables so as to fight household poverty.
Counterfeit (fake) seed continues to be a big threat to Uganda’s seed sector because it reduces farmers’ confidence in certified seed due to cases where farmers unknowingly plant inferior quality grain labelled as certified seed.
It also threatens the success of efforts to increase the adoption of improved varieties because farmers are not sure which seed is genuine.
An estimated 30% of the seed on the Ugandan market alone is fake, according to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.