By Herbert Musoke
Annet Nazziwa, a farmer from Katikandegeya village in Kalagala sub-county, Luwero district, says she has always re-planted seed from the previous harvests, which end up giving little yields.
“Whenever I would plant 10kg, I couldn’t even harvest 40kg, which is frustrating,” Nazziwa says.
However, her fortunes turned when she was considered among the farmers who received quality maize and bean seeds from Bugema University.
“I got 10kg of quality bean seed and harvested over 80kg last season, which was a miracle to me. I was really impressed and understood that quality seed leads to better yields,” she says.
Nazziwa is one of the over 400 farmers who have again received quality maize and bean seeds from Bugema University to boost their harvest this season. The seed was delivered under a project dubbed
“Strengthening Bugema University Farmer Entrepreneur Capacity and Community Engagement” through the department of agriculture at Bugema University.
Roy Nkambwe, the project co-ordinator at the university, says although the project was started in 2019 and was to end in 2020, they have implemented mechanisms to make it self-sustaining that it still stands up to today.
“We train farmers on best practices like planting quality seed that we get from recognised institutions such as Kabanyoro and Namulonge, proper spacing, use of fertilisers, post-harvest handling, bulking and linking farmers to the market,” she says.
The seed is given to farmers on credit and after harvest, they bring back an equivalent of the seed they were given plus a 10% and the rest is theirs.
This has increased production and productivity. Robert Kyobe, the chairperson of Aliba Community Development Organisation based in Bamunaanika, says a lack of extension services to get knowledge on what to do for better yields kept many farmers at subsistence level.
“We did not know what to do because in the sub-county there is only one extension officer who cannot reach all the farmers. This is where the university came in handy to give us the knowledge and skills we needed in our gardens for better yields,” he says.
Allen Nambalirwa, a lecturer at Bugema University, says failure to get quality seed has kept agricultural production and incomes low.
Therefore, farmers need to have enhanced seed that will give them the yield needed because such seed is optimised.
Change of mindset
Dr. Paul Nampala, the head of agriculture and environmental sciences at Bugema University, explains that agriculture is a science, but many times in the communities what is called seed is actually grain because seed is processed grain.
To enhance farmers’ yields and household incomes, Bugema University has embarked on training farmers in Luwero on the best agronomical practices, provides them with quality seed, organises them in groups and buys some of their produce.