By Prossy Nandudu
International researchers to work with researchers in Uganda to find solutions to challenges being experienced in the country’s agriculture sector today.
Challenges such as low productivity due to continuous use of farmer saved seed among other challenges, lack of markets, poor post-harvest handling practices, and then low interest in valued addition among others.
The researchers under the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) made the pledge at the launch of their one stop center at the National Agriculture Research Laboratories (NaRL) at Kawanda on Wednesday.
Beatrice Ekesa from CGIAR explained that although they have been working with government research institutions in the past, most of the centers have been working in Isolation.
“We realized that it is better to work together because we have six center in Uganda which will work on several areas that have been identified for collaboration,” said Ekesa.
Adding that under once center, researchers with diverse skills will be working together towards a common goal. Identified areas of collaboration are Market Intelligences, Accelerated breeding, Plant health initiatives, rethinking markets among others.
Areas that the centers have worked on so far include the development of the gene bank for beans and bananas to conserve indigenous seed, development of high yielding bananas but also resistant to common pests and diseases. Still under seed, they supported the development of new rice seed, orange fleshed sweet potatoes, potatoes, cassava, pasture seeds. And then through value addition, they have supported value addition for the Orange fleshed sweet potatoes into various products like snacks, flour.