By Prossy Nandudu
According to Umar Kityo, a climbing yam farmer, yams are grown for food security and income.
He says one can harvest about 400 kgs of yams in one season.
Kityo says to get better yields, a farmer should prepare the soil and shade where the yam tuber is planted.
“First, a farmer has to dig a 1.5 to 2 ft. hole which is 3 by 3 ft wide. Add black soil in the pit and then put red soil,” he explains.
He adds that this kind of garden, which is usually rectangular, shouldn’t be as high as that of sweet potatoes.
Then the tuber, which should have been harvested the previous season and preserved, is planted and covered with some soil to grow, adds Kityo.
Unlike in urban farming, where the soil used for planting the crop is mixed with manure, in rural areas, it is not advisable, according to Kityo.
“Using chicken droppings or cow dung for manure attracts pests like white caterpillars, also known as kosokomwo in Luganda. These pests penetrate the tubers and damage them. So we discourage the use of manure,” he adds.
In rural areas, yams are planted near trees like mutuba (Ficus natalensis) for support and to provide the environment for the crop to settle.
“For urban farmers, the support pole should be erected in a letter T form, to provide room for the yam to branch,” says Kityo.