Effective this planting season, the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) will not give out free planting materials like it has been doing in the past.
Instead, those interested in the seedlings will co-fund.
A farmer interested in accessing planting materials from NAADs will part with 30% of the total cost of seedlings required and the 70% will be cleared by NAADS.
The move, according to the NAADS executive director, Dr Sam Mugasi, will reduce wastage of planting materials.
“With the new measure, only those interested in seeds will invest some money unlike those days where anybody would take the seedlings and keep them on the verandah unattended to, thereby compromising their quality,” he said.
Mugasi made the remarks on Friday during a media breakfast meeting at Piato Hotel in Kampala, where two new commercial crops, Macadamia and Hass avocado were unveiled.
NAADS is one of the sponsors of the 2023 Harvest Money Expo. Other sponsors include the Embassy of the Netherlands, Champrisa International, Upfront Partners, Engineering Solution (Engsol) and Warehouse Receipt Systems.
The expo will be held on February 10-12 at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.
With the new crops, NAADS’ target is to have 20,000 farmers of Macadamia and 50,000 Hass avocado farmers along the value chain.
Mugasi said this and more will be part of the information that NAADS will pass on to Ugandans during the expo.
He explained that the measure starts with the newly introduced commercial commodities where those interested in accessing seedlings for example of Hass avocado, will part with sh2,550 per seedling and NAADS will contribute sh5,950 to make the total cost of sh8,500 for one Hass avocado seedling.
Promoting, scaling up
According to Mugasi, promoting and scaling up of the two high-value strategic commodities is in line with the agriculture ministry’s value chain development strategy, which demands that all strategic interventions in production meet both national/ local and export demand for increased household and export incomes.
He, however, noted that they zeroed in on the two commodities based on findings from a baseline study conducted in selected districts in different agro-ecological zones of the country.
The study was aimed at understanding the value chains and their performance, noted Grace Kazigati from the NAADS secretariat. From the study, it was discovered that planting of the two crops started in 2000 by small scale farmers, followed by medium-scale farmers between 2011 and 2020, and later large-scale farmers between 2021 and 2022.
From 2019 to 2022, 521,760 seedlings were distributed and planted on about 3,258 acres.
Today, the total acreage under Hass avocado is 3,864 acres with an expected annual production estimated at 4,656,155kg or 23,280,775 fruits.
According to Kazigati, the plants started fruiting at between three to four years and yield increases for over 15 years.
The cost of establishing and managing one acre is sh3.74m, Kazigati said, adding that in the first years, fruits worth sh8.3m can be harvested, making a profit of sh4.56m.
Kazigati explained that the market for fruits includes individuals at 31.2%, retailers at 25%, wholesalers at 18.7%, processors at 12.5% and exporters at 12.5%.
She added that potential markets for export include Asia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, China as well as in Europe, especially in Italy.
“The demand for both fresh fruits and avocado oil is huge in Europe and China,” she said.
In Dubai, Hass avacado fetches about $3.5 per kilogramme and $8 per kilogramme in China.
There is also market for processed crude oil in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and Netherlands at $4.8-$6.5 per kilogramme.
Kazigati said macadamia is currently grown in Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Mbarara, Wakiso and Mityana by 1,000 farmers.
In the first 12 years, sh82.5m can be realised with a profit of sh57m per acre from the plants. The plants attain full production between 12 to 15 years.
Promotion of crops
Dr Sam Mugasi Mugasi, the National Agriculture Advisory Services (NAADS) executive director said they will be working with nucleus farms under a partnership.
This is premised on the government strategy of working with large scale commercial farmers with land of 50 acres and above.
However, the implementation guidelines provide for a window for other individuals and institutions who may be interested in participating.
To kickstart the intervention, delivery and distribution of Hass avocado and Macadamia seedlings to participating farmers through the earmarked nucleus farmer partners commenced in the second season of 2022, and will continue throughout the first planting season of 2023.
So far, 103,362 seedlings of Hass avocado have been distributed to 31 districts, targeting 203 and an expected coverage of 670 acres; while 29,234 seedlings of Macadamia were distributed to 11 districts targeting 799 farmers covering 353 acres.