Saturday March 17 2018

For bumper harvest, get it right with seeds

A farmer explains how s

A farmer explains how she grows maize. Photo by Rachel Mabala 

By Lominda Afedraru

With the world witnessing a population explosion, now is the need for farmers to use advanced technologies in the agriculture sector to produce enough food for the people.

Since the acreage of arable land will not increase, the same fields must produce 70 per cent or more food to feed the growing population and respond to the growing market demand.

This therefore means farmers must not rely on the informal seed systems where they keep part of their harvest for planting.
In informal systems, farmers may specifically select certain plants, grains or planting materials for seed, but positive selection is generally not done.
Formal seed systems are by far providing the largest part of seeds and planting materials now, the reason farmers must embrace the same.

Seed companies
It is the reason Pearl Seeds Ltd and Victoria Seeds Ltd are processing different types of quality seed for farmers to access, purchase and plant in order to harvest the required yield.

Pearl Seeds Ltd
Pearl Seeds Ltd is one of the seed companies producing high quality seed to be supplied to the farming communities in Uganda and the region.

It is a locally and legally incorporated private company in Uganda with the main objective to contribute towards poverty eradication and livelihood improvement of the small, medium and commercial farmers by providing constant supply of high quality seeds, timely and at affordable prices.

The managing director Richard Masagazi giving insights about the company notes that the company has a team of experts who engage growers on contract basis from selected geographical locations across the country.
Once the seeds are harvested, it is conditioned using agro chemicals and packaged ready for marketing.

The growers are supervised by agricultural experts working in the seed company to ensure the right procedure is followed.
Farmers must ensure the weed their farms timely, in case of pest and diseases invading the farm, this has to be checked and removed in time.

Growers are given foundation seed on credit which is paid later as the company purchases seed for processing.
Pearl Seeds Limited deals in the following types of seed, hybrid maize seed, Open Pollinated Varieties , soybeans, common beans, sorghum, rice seed both upland and paddy rice grown in wetlands and cow pea.

The growers are in the districts of Kyankwanzi, Hoima, Masindi, Oyam, Luwero, Kalungu, Tororo and Nwoya.
All seed types are packaged in 1, 2, 5 and 10kilogrammes and the latest maize seed variety the company is processing is PH5355 which is high yielding and common bean variety rich in Iron and Zinc.

The seeds are supplied by agro dealers throughout the country; some are sold to NGO’s for free distribution to farmers, operation wealth creation and Naads.

Masagazi is advising farmers to be on the lookout for the pamper proof labels which are computerized printouts difficult for duplication by fake seed dealers.

Farmers are also advised to purchase seed from certified seed companies especially those owned by district agro input shops. Once this is followed the challenge of seed germination will not arise.
According to Masagazi it is not easy dealing in seed business. There are challenges of seed capital acquisition and paying contractors in time.

Victoria Seeds Ltd
Victoria Seeds Limited was founded in 2004 in Uganda. It has operations in cereal crops and vegetable seeds, horticultural and oil crops.
It has processing and marketing facilities in Masindi, Gulu and Lira and it supplies other countries including Rwanda.
The crops processed are addressing issues of drought tolerance, pest and disease resistance, early maturity and improved yields. The processes oil crop seed varieties such as groundnuts, simsim, vegetables which include, broccoli, eggplant, Amaranth (white elma) and red stem variety, legume seed for common beans and cow pea including soy bean.

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