UGANDA – Uganda is considering setting up a national seed company to work alongside private seed companies in a bid to provide certified and quality seeds to farmers in the country.
Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, Minister for Agriculture revealed this while commissioning a seed laboratory and a poultry hatchery for local chicken at Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Lira City on September 21.
Kyakulaga said the government seeks to form a national seed company owned by the Government to work alongside private seed companies but with a wider mandate.
The state minister was responding to the Lira district LC5 chairperson Richard Okello Orik who earlier alerted him that counterfeit seeds have flooded the market and farmers are being cheated.
“We shall have a seed holding company that will be specializing in seed and fully independent to produce quality seeds and give it out to farmers at a reasonable price,” said Kyagulaga.
Lawrence Egole, Lira Resident City Commissioner adding to the minister’s concern said that they impounded over 20 tonnes of fake seeds, especially the DK777 maize variety in different shops in the city.
Kyakugala said to reduce the vice, the company will produce quality seeds at a reasonable price but will also deal with challenges on counterfeit inputs.
“That is another big problem for our farmers: Where they buy fake inputs and don’t mitigate their problem but end up losing,” he added.
On his part, Dr Yona Baguma, the National Agricultural Research Organisation director general asked the Government to establish a fully functional seed system from the crops that are predominantly grown in northern Uganda.
Baguma added that there is a need to innovate and put in place capacity to enable the center to handle the seed and keep it to the quality that is desired before distribution
“For crops, I want to request a storage facility, capacity for processing at the center, and above all capacity for irrigation since the center has a total of 670 acres of land that can be used for producing seeds.
According to him, having a vibrant seed system for the different commodities would be a significant change to bring about chasing poverty and hunger in the region.