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Home Research & Innovations NARO Licenses 10 Companies For Seed Multiplication

NARO Licenses 10 Companies For Seed Multiplication

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Prossy Nandudu

To ensure the availability of quality planting seed, especially in the second planting season of 2024, 10 seed companies on Thursday, February, 8, were given licenses and also signed an agreement with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), to multiply foundation seed developed by research.

Under the agreement, some seed companies will have exclusive rights on the production of some seed varieties, some will multiply like four varieties under the second window, while under the third window, all qualified companies will produce the remaining varieties.

The crop varieties that are lined up for multiplication include cereals like maize and sorghum, then legumes like beans, soybeans, groundnuts, others are cowpeas among others.

Dr Sadiq Kassim, the deputy director of NARO in charge of technology promotion explained that by licensing the ten seed companies, they want to ensure that there is adequate seed in the second planting season, but also to eliminate incidences of adulteration of seed.

“When we license you, and for example, you are licensed under the exclusive window, it will be easier for us to trace the origin of that fake seed because we shall have details of who took which varieties and the expected production quantities,” Kassim explained.

He added that the foundation seed that companies took for multiplication on Thursday, should be ready for planting in the second season of 2024 also known as season B.

Some of the requirements considered for a seed company to multiply foundation seed from research, are that the company should have the appropriate infrastructure for seed production, processing and packaging, must have invested in proper post-harvest handling facilities, agronomists to monitor the multiplication process but also other investments such as irrigation in case a dry spell sets in while the seed is in the garden among others.

Although most of the qualifying seed companies are members of the Uganda Seed Traders Association (USTA), Kassim said non-members of USTA who meet the requirements are also considered in the selection process.

The signing ceremony, which took place at the NARO secretariat in Entebbe will also prevent a scenario of seed scarcity that was experienced in the second planting season of 2023, where for example a kilo of hybrid maize seed increased from sh5000 to between sh12,000 to sh15,000.

And the reasons, that were advanced by seed companies then, were that there was a delay in the release of foundation seed by NARO for seed companies to multiply but also the changes in unexpected rains that affected the harvest and processing of seed that was ready but still in the gardens.

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