By Prossy Nandudu and Joshua Kato
Dr Michael Ugen, the director of NaSARRI, the institute charged with groundnut improvement and early generation seeds production attributed the low production to several factors including continuous planting of traditional seed, pests and diseases, coupled with the growing demand for groundnuts.
He explained that there are three types of groundnuts grown in Uganda that they have been improving from the 1960’s.
These include Spanish, (which are small seeded and have a short maturity period); Virginia which are large seeded and late maturing groundnuts and Valencia (which are early maturing with 3-5 seeds per pod).
“We have been working on groundnuts for a long time, for example, Red beauty which is small seeded, grows faster and is preferred most, was developed somewhere in 60s, it has lost resistance to pests and diseases, it is now easily attacked by the rosette virus disease,” said Ugen.
Another production constraint according to Ugen is climate change, where both too much rain and drought affects production.
“Farmers are now experiencing either too much rains, that leads to the rotting of the pods in gardens, and also drought that affects the filling up of pods. For long we didn’t have problems with climate change, so everything seems to have an impact on groundnut production today,” Ugen added.
Other challenges include aflatoxins, that attack the groundnuts right from the gardens all the way to storage, further reducing the supply on the market.
Challenges at a glance
-Lack of fertilisers
-Low use of quality seed
-Low use of agrochemicals
-Susceptibility to rosette disease
-Poor market linkages for produce
Groundnut is predominantly marketed in for of; unshelled pods, the seed for propagation, groundnut powder, paste, and shelled seeds.