By Patrick Okino
The government is to establish a national seed company to provide certified and quality seeds to farmers in the country, State Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Rtd Major Fred Bwino Kyakulaga said on Thursday (September 21).
While commissioning the seed laboratory and poultry hatchery for local chicken at Ngetta zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Lira City on Thursday, Kyakulaga noted that they are forming a national seed company owned by the government to work alongside private seed companies, but with a wider mandate.
“It will include all kinds of seeds for crops, livestock and fisheries. The company will be a co-ordination point, but we shall have a seed holding company that will be specializing in seed and fully independent,” he added.
He continued; “So that in case of a situation, like one we are facing now, this company comes in and produces quality seed and gives it out to farmers at a reasonable price.”
Kyagulaga who unveiled the facilities rehabilitated under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda with financial support from the European Union, was responding to the Lira district LC5 chairperson Richard Okello Orik who earlier alerted him that counterfeit seeds have flooded the market and farmers are being cheated.
The Lira Resident City Commissioner, Lawrence Egole, also put forward a similar concern, saying as a security team, they impounded over 20 tons of fake seeds, especially the DK777 maize variety in different shops in the city and outside.
“Some people think the best seed comes from Kenya yet we too have good seeds. We need people to know that this place is for them so that they don’t fall into the traps of corrupt individuals,” he said.
Kyakugala said to reduce the vice, the company will produce quality seeds at a reasonable price, but will also deal with challenges in inputs.
The director general of the National Agricultural Research Organization, NARO, Dr Yona Baguma, asked the government to establish a fully functional seed system from the crops that are predominantly grown in northern Uganda.
He added that a way of chasing poverty and hunger in the sub-region is to have a vibrant seed system for the different commodities.
PHOTO CAPTION: Thomson Obong of NARO Ngetta showing minister Fred Bwino Kyakulaga the records noted before kick off seed testing. Photo by Patrick Okino