Friday, April 19, 2024
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NARO To Release Two Cassava Varieties

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By Patrick Okino

The National Agricultural Research Organization is set to release two new cassava varieties.

The two candidate varieties to be released according to Dr Christopher Omongo, NARO`s research scientist and head of Root Crops programme are still using breeder code name UG120/193 and umkuba.

He said NARO had established cassava seed multiplication sites in the four districts in the Lango region under Strengthening Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem, for inclusive rural transformation and Livelihood in Eastern Africa project.

NARO and Divine Organic Foods, an agribusiness company in the country are taking the lead in a three-year project worth sh400m. The project is being implemented in Lira, Apac, Kwania and Dokolo districts. 

Visiting the sites on Friday, Omongo said a number of farmer groups had planted the varieties alongside Narocas one (cassava variety) which is a commercial variety being grown in Uganda such that they can see the differences and appreciate.

According to NARO`s senior Principal research officer, Dr Robert Kawuki the production of cassava declined from 2.09 million acres in 2019 to 1.26 million in 2020 due to pest and disease, poor demand and lack of market.

More efforts according to Kawuki who is also Root Crops Programme at NARO is needed to boost the production of the crop for commercial purposes and food security.

Dr Omongo said in their arrangement they believed that they need to give farmers knowledge because they have seen over time that the biggest problem is producing clean seed and good variety.

He added that farmers should embrace good agronomic practice if they are to have clean seed for planting.

“You may have one plant which is sick and if you carry forward it keeps multiplying. Therefore in our programme we shall continue to train them (farmers) to produce clean seed,” he said.

He revealed that they have put an application to the ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries to release the varieties and as a matter of procedure farmers should endorse it first.

The assistant commissioner incharge of seed inspection and certification, Dr Mary Asio Teddy said the ministry is on the process of analyzing the data of the new varieties and soon they will release to farmers.

She said she was happy with what NARO was doing to empower farmer groups to be able to produce quality seed and that they were going to work hand in hand with them (farmers) as a ministry to teach them how to produce clean seed.

The managing director of Divine Organic Foods, Noela Ojara urged the communities around these multiplication fields to learn about the varieties and embrace it when it is released.

She added that with the new varieties, she expects cassava production in Lango and the greater north to increase which is possible through multi-stakeholders working together.

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