Thursday, June 20, 2024
Home News Proper Fertilizer Application Key To Improving Crop Production, Dutch Advise

Proper Fertilizer Application Key To Improving Crop Production, Dutch Advise

by Jacquiline Nakandi
0 comment

By Herbert Musoke

Nutritional efficiency is key to increasing production and productivity of crops, which can be attained through proper fertiliser application.

Dr Crammer Kayuki Kaizzi, a principal research officer with National Agricultural Laboratories (NARL-Kawanda), explains that farmers lack proper information for application of different fertilisers to maximise their efficiency and optimise production.

“For example, you need to understand whether you are applying the right fertiliser because farmers apply NPK 17.17.17 to any crop yet it is formulated for sugarcane; how much a crop needs; as well as the right time of application — some apply folio fertiliser at midday when it is too hot and the fertilisers just evaporate,” he says.

He made the revelation during the Golden jubilee celebrations of the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) at Circular Design Hub, Industrial Area in Kampala, which, with support from the Embassy of the kingdom of Netherlands, has supported thousands of small-holder farmers to improve productivity on their farms.

IFDC is a non-profit, public international organisation (PIO), established on October 7, 1974, with headquarters in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.

Kaizzi explains that it is important that farmers are informed about the proper use of fertilisers to improve production, as well as food nutrition as it all comes from the nutrition crops get from the oils.

Currently, IFDC is implementing Building Resilience and Inclusive Growth of Highland farming systems for rural Transformation (BRIGHT) project aimed at convincing communities to adapt to new technologies and change from the usual way of doing things, as it takes time and effort.

Grace Babirye, the acting team leader BRIGHT (left) Paul Mwambu, the commissioner crop inspection and crop protection at MAAIF (third left), Samuel Ssempala, the country director for IFCD Uganda, Josephat Byaruhanda, a senior policy officer food security and agribusiness at the embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands (second right) and some IFDC staff cutting a cake to cerebrate 50 years of IFDC.

Grace Babirye, the acting team leader of BRIGHT, explains that the project is expected to increase resilience and income of 100,000 small-holder farming households in the highlands and 100,000 acres of farmland converted to sustainable use.

“Through the project, we plan to support households in inclusive farm-planning and decision-making, introducing appropriate climate-smart agriculture techniques and technologies to strengthen local farming systems, ensuring natural resources conservation and development of strategic value chains,” she says.

Production has increased

Johnson Mutegeki, a resident of Rwano village in Kabonero parish, Kabarole district, is one of the households that is being supported under the BRIGHT project.

“From the training that I got from IFDC, I started improving my banana plantation. I started with water and soil conservation structures, such as digging trenches and checking dams. I have also been encouraged to use manure from my goats. Now, my farm is producing 20 bunches of bananas every week as opposed to 10 or less previously,” he says.

From the same training, Mutegeki, who hails from the Rwenzori region, learnt how to construct post-harvest handling equipment, such as solar driers and granaries using local materials, which he uses to dry his produce like cassava, beans and groundnuts, unlike before when he dried them on the bare ground, which compromised their quality.

We are now exporters

Kabonero Mountainous Coffee Growers Co-operative Society Limited is also supported by BRIGHT through IFDC’s partner, Agriterra.

The partnership is aimed at strengthening co-operatives, SACCOS and farmer groups to improve financial access to smallholder farmers.

Enos Muthahinga, one of the co-operative leaders, says the partnership with BRIGHT has helped them increase their customer base. They have started exporting their coffee.

“Now that we are certified, we can export our coffee — and at better prices. We were also facing internal governance challenges, but this has been solved and we now have a streamlined corporate management system. We have also been linked to Uganda Development Bank, where we have access to finances at a lower interest rate,” he says.

Samuel Ssempala, the country director of IFCD Uganda, says with their vision of Healthier soils and plants for a food-secure and environmentally sustainable world, they have implemented a number of projects, such as EADN, in the selected districts in the eastern, West Nile and western regions of Uganda.

He says they aim at bringing together innovative research, market expertise, strategic public-private partnerships to identify and scale up sustainable solutions for soil and plant nutrition that benefit farmers, entrepreneurs and environment.

“Through collaboration with our partners, especially the Embassy of the Netherlands, the agriculture ministry, through the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and others, we have contributed significantly to transforming lives at household level,” Ssempala says.

He adds that they started operations in 2012 in Uganda. IFDC combines innovative research, market systems development and strategic partnerships to spread sustainable agricultural solutions for improved soil health, food security and livelihoods in developing countries.

“We strive to co-create farmer-centric, agricultural livelihood improvement and rural economic development programmes. We directly implement, work with partners or build the capacity of partners’ staff to deliver programmes on sustainability, resilience and market-oriented value-chain development,” Ssempala says.

You are helping the ministry

Paul Mwambu, the commissioner of crop inspection and crop protection from the agriculture ministry, who represented the animal industry minister, Bright Rwamirama, thanked the Netherlands embassy for the endless support towards the development of the agricultural sector.

“Interventions on improving soils are much needed, because that is where the plants grow. Therefore, to improve production and nutritional security, we need to feed the soils to work on deficiencies that maximise productivity per unit area,” he says.

Agriculture transformation beyond increased production

Josephat Byaruhanda, a senior policy officer, food security and agribusiness at the embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, expressed the embassy’s gratitude to IFDC as it was among the first implementing partners when the embassy introduced the food and security project over 10 years.

He, however, called on the Government to work on the marketing infrastructure, such as roads, to make it easy for the rural farmers to sell their produce, as many are losing money to middle men due to the inaccessibility of places.

“A ply box full of tomatoes (over 250kg) goes for sh200,000 at farm gate price, yet at Nakasero market, a kilogramme goes for sh3,000. This implies that if a farmer could sell in kilogrammes, he/she would earn sh750,000 or at least sh625,000 if they sold a kilogramme at sh2,500. Such has kept farmers poor,” Byaruhanda says.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Ssempala (right) taking Mwambu and Byaruhanda around the stalls of some of the beneficiaries. Photos by Herbert Musoke

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Download Vision Group Experience App

Follow Us

All Rights Reserved © Harvest Money 2023

error: Content is protected !!