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If farmers want to reap good harvests, it is important that they buy certified seeds from registered seed companies and agro input dealers. This will enable them get planting materials, which are disease-free and high yielding. In Uganda, seed certification is conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture under the Crop Protection Unit. The Unit also inspects seed fields, factories, mother gardens and nurseries to ensure compliance with procedures for seed production.

During the purity and germination tests, scientists receive samples of seeds such as maize, barley, wheat and beans, among others. They put the seeds in the lab and test their growing strength in a confined-field trial. The seeds are later tested in different fields to confirm their growth ability. There are several other tests that are done to ensure the seeds are of good quality.

Farmers should observe the packaging and make sure the seals of the sachets used have not been tampered with or broken. They should also look at the logo of the seed company and for the certificate number allowing them to trade in seeds. “Certified seed outlets give farmers what is processed from the factory. I usually encourage farmers to purchase hybrid seeds for commercial purposes. But for subsistence farming, they can go ahead to plant their traditional seeds kept in granaries although it is not advisable to practice subsistence farming in today’s era,”

Regarding fears of seed duplication, the farmers may purchase their seeds from certified providers with PPDA or a few kilos of a particular seed and conduct an examination test by planting it on a small plot to see if it can germinate and grow well before they plant the seeds on a larger area.
Since hybrid seeds are costly and are planted only once, it is advisable to conduct examination tests.


“If a farmer goes planting without carrying out an examination [trial] test, he or she stands to lose in case they do not germinate and grow well,” in addition farmers who wish to purchase hybrid varieties not to buy in bulk and keep for the next season because the seeds will have lost their high yielding strength. But as far as maize varieties are concerned, farmers can grow both hybrid and open pollinated varieties (OPV) although the former produces higher yields.

Farmers who want to plant OPVs should purchase Longe 4 and 5 and should apply good agronomic practices such as fertilizer application, timely weeding and mulching, among others,
“A good hybrid maize variety can yield up to 40 bags per hectare. In the eastern districts like Kapchorwa, farmers have adopted the Kenya hybrid variety called 614H and in lower altitude areas such as Bulambuli, the farmers are growing 613H variety. They like these varieties because they have good attributes in that their taste is nice and the flour is good and heavy,”

Most of the Ugandan hybrid maize varieties are grown in Masindi, in the northern region and in the western region especially in Kasese district. Bean farmers are advised to adopt high yielding varieties such as the Namulonge bean varieties NABE 4 to 15. These varieties represent both climbing beans and bush beans and farmers can keep them for the next planting season.

Seek advice
Crops such as rice also have varieties that are high yielding especially the upland Nerica Rice,
But the oil crops such as soya bean, groundnuts and sunflower lose their seed value chain very fast and farmers are advised not to buy them in bulk to keep for the next planting season. Farmers should purchase fresh seeds whenever they want to plant these crops.

Farmers are also encouraged to seek advice from agricultural experts from time to time because in selecting the type of seeds to grow, the farmer must know which season favors a particular crop in order to achieve high yields and better earnings.

Characteristics of quality seed. It is one that is disease- and pest-free, pure genetically, has relatively uniform size and same color, it is pure from physical impunities like sand, stones and any other foreign particles and it should be capable of germinating.

Address challenges
Focusing his discussion around soya bean, for which as a breeder he is involved in seed multiplication for farmers, he noted other legumes such as groundnuts and beans can also be reproduced by farmers. But it is advisable to purchase them from the appropriate seed dealers on the commodities of interest like cassava, maize, rice, banana, coffee, tea, fruits, livestock as well as fisheries including cage fishing and aquaculture in general.

Some seeded crops are self-pollinated like groundnuts, beans, rice, among others, but for the case of maize and a number of vegetable crop varieties, they produce seeds through cross-pollination with another plant.

According to Agroking Uganda limited seed became a commercial commodity for farmers when seed companies came to trade in the business under a regulated arrangement. The issue of intellectual property also came in and that is how the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) law was drafted to cater for breeders’ rights.

 

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