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Farmers Advised To Plant New Bean Varietties

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Agnes Nantambi   

Failure by farmers to embrace new bean varieties has been blamed for the low bean production in the country.

Pamera Papalu a plant pathologist at Namulonge research station explain that most farmers are not aware of the improved verities and they have continued to grow their old varieties that are no longer good.

She explained that the new varieties released by researchers especially NARO are very high yielding and have been proved resistant to drought and diseases meaning poor choices of seeds lead to low production.

“Secondly farmers don’t acquire quality seeds because there are very few seed companies that produce seeds, this means farmers keep reusing their seeds which most times get infected with the diseases that come in them.

Therefore, when they replant, the crop start falling sick from the seedling stage thus leading to a reduction in the final yield, “she said.

In addition to that Papalu explained that the farmers have a problem of drought because of the unreliable rains where sometimes they plant their seeds and the rain fails.

“In most times, the farmers lose the seeds or either they get new seeds or they are done for the season with a total loss,

In order to address that, we are currently having five innovations in varieties that are trying to address consequences that are relevant in communities, “she said.

She said they have five iron and zinc rich beans with two drought tolerant beans.

“The iron and Zink rich beans are important because they provide nutrition that is needed for our children mostly for good health and brain development.

Three of the varieties can grow in low lands while two of them are climbers and can grow in high lands like Kabale, Kisoro and Kapchorwa,” she said.

Pamera Papalu a plant pathologist at Namulonge research station speaking to peter Wamboga from SCIFODE about the new bean varieties they have innovated at NARO during the biosafety conference. Photo by Agnes Nantambi

Currently she said they are trying to promote the two drought tolerant varieties which can practically grow anywhere.

“We are trying to make them reach all corners of Uganda where beans are grown, Where ever we have taken them, people love them for their yields and performance, in that even when there is drought, they still do well and have become a darling to the farmers, “she said.

She explained that the two varieties one is black very much liked by the people in north and is like a hot cake there.

The other variety she said is red and where ever they have taken it, like in the eastern districts of Sironko, and other districts like Kamwenge and Hoima, they have liked them because it preforms very well against drought.

Regarding the iron rich beans, Papalu said they have mostly promoted the low land one of the three varieties, the NARO bean 1,11 and111 with one of them being red motored which is very much liked by the market, the yellow one and the white and speckled.

The white one she said is not so much known by the farmers, yet it is the highest yielding and very tasty saying wherever they have promoted it, they have cooked it with farmers and they have liked it.

Challenges farmers face

The pests and disease, are a usual challenge where farmers need to find ways of managing them.

“Wherever we go, we try to educate farmers on how to avoid the disease from coming through using a good seed, treating the seed by coating it to avoid seedling diseases, do proper spacing to enhance aeration in the garden such that the disease-causing organisms cannot grow.

Should the disease come, they should destroy the diseased ones and if possible, they can use chemicals in a recommended way, “she explained.

“We realised that farmers use a lot of chemicals but in all our fields, we try to educate them on how to use proper chemicals, quality and proper methods of application, how to protect themselves and how to destroy the containers.

It’s advisable that they consult agronomists on every sub county on the proper use of the chemicals in order to increase yields, “she adds.

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