Christine Kitaka recently saw the first drops of the rainy season fall in her small compound in Kufu, Nakaseke district.
For a farmer like her, there was one thing on her mind – the planting season!
Kitaka grows maize and beans on three acres of land each. But then, did she have the right seed?
“I saved some seed from the last season,” she said.
However, to supplement this, she was going to buy 10kg of improved maize and bean seeds.
“I have realised that if I plant good seed, I get good yields. If I plant poor seeds, the yields are poor,” Kitaka says.
Hence, she was concerned about the quality of seeds.
Poor seeds affect productivity
The seed industry, which is the base of agriculture, is still underdeveloped. Quality seed is one of the determinants of farming success, contributing to 60% of the yields.
However, 85-90% of Uganda’s crops are still produced using home-saved seed. Only 10–15% of farmers in Uganda use quality seeds.
The demand for high-quality seed has created room for counterfeits in the market. It is estimated that 30-40% seed in Uganda’s market is counterfeit according to the National Seed Policy 2018.
Charles Sendaaza, the agricultural inspector (Seeds) at the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, says the unavailability, inaccessibility, and high cost of quality seed has kept many farmers in poverty because of low yield yet some toil harder.
According to Sendaaza, commercialising of the agricultural sector increases household productivity and incomes, while addressing unemployment issues.
It can also nurture agro-based industries countrywide and employ labourers that will have been released from primary agriculture.