UGANDA – The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) has signed cooperation agreements with 10 seed companies to eliminate the supply of fake seeds on the Ugandan market.
The agreements were signed on January 8 at the organization offices in Entebbe, bringing the total number of licensed seed companies to twenty-three (23).
According to NARO, the signing of the agreements was a step in ensuring farmers got the right and genuine seeds, a development that would contribute to improved food production not only for the country’s food security but also for export.
In addition, NARO expects that the companies will multiply and disseminate authentic and certified seed varieties developed by the organization.
Addressing directors of seed companies, Dr. Yona Baguma, the Director General of NARO tasked them to invest in good infrastructures and skilled people who understand the dynamics of seed varieties.
“Set up reasonable infrastructures that help to invest in quality seeds. This would enable professionals to invest in better seed varieties. You should also invest in the value chain to ensure multiplication of quality seed varieties, he stated.
Dr. Baguma implored seed companies to ensure adequate supply of quality seeds to farmers, adding that NARO is committed to investing in vibrant seed varieties that are competitive globally. He however cautioned unlicensed seed companies that they risk legal action.
“Ensure timely supply of adequate quantity of good seed varieties to farmers. As NARO, we believe in availing the right information to the general public.”
He also assured them that the organization would deal with seed companies involved in the supply of fake seeds, and those with no contract with NARO.
Baguma said that it will be the duty of the seed companies to ensure fake inputs do not make it to the market with the companies’ logo or else it will be the companies to explain the malpractice.
“It is you to ensure that a seed supplied in your name and logo is of good quality. Where you fail, you owe us a duty of explanation,” Baguma said.
He urged the companies to invest in technologies and infrastructure that improve their work and also invest in the development of human resources for the job. He also called for compliance with industry guidelines set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.
Baguma disclosed that several new improved varieties were awaiting certification and advertising before the seed companies could apply for them
He asked the companies to exploit the East African Community common market to broaden their market and also earn the country foreign exchange by expanding the export base.
Dr. Sadiq Kassim, the Deputy Director General in charge of Agriculture Technology Promotion at NARO asked the Ministry of Agriculture officials to scale up inspections to ensure supply of quality seeds to farmers.
After realising their sales, seed companies are required to pay loyalty to facilitate research processes, further bulking of early generating seeds, development of seed varieties and sustainable supply of quality seeds.
Some of the new seed companies on board include Variety Seed Company, Century Seed Company and Equator Seed Company among others.