In a bid to enhance interactions between farmers and agricultural scientists on smart modern agricultural practices which suit change in weather vagaries, Monitor Publications Limited in partnership with National Semi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), a sister institute to NARO will on November 25 conduct its eighth Farm Clinic in eastern Uganda.
The event which has attracted sponsors such as Heifer International, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAIF) among others will give a rare insight to farmers to share with some of the finest crop agronomist at NaSARRI on recommendable farm practices that boost higher farm productivity.
According to Sarah Nalule Walakira, the MPL head marketing, the final clinic of 2017 presents an opportunity to farmers to learn more about dairy farming, citrus, groundnuts, cotton, sunflower, cassava and cowpeas.
Sharing the same credence with National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) and its sister organisations, Seeds of Gold, a weekly farmers magazine, strongly believe that in order to scale up production, its invention of the farm clinics will bridge the gap between the crop researchers and the end users of the crop products.
Aware of the existing gap, Michael .A. Ugen, the director at NaSARRI, Serere District, has praised Daily Monitor for its resolve in crafting the idea for farm clinic. He says NaSARRI is ready to host farmers in their hundreds as an opportunity for them to share with their end users on various tenets of modern farming in the face of climatic change.
“We have bigger plans to make this maiden farm clinic at NaSARRI participatory in the sense that we want to receive information from our end users on how they find products that we have always released,” he states. “The magnitude of the problem has always been disseminating information to end users. With this partnership we look forward to a much more rosy future of partnership in having fine knowledge from our fine agronomists made available through Seeds of Gold which has a bigger readership among practicing farmers and key stakeholders,” Ugen added. On that day, the panelists will interactively engage farmers on how to have a complete value chain of the selected commodities, ranging from how crop research is done, the ability of crops to both thrive during rainy and dry spells, the smart planting practices, gestation period management, harvesting, preservation and how to add value to crop products, bearing in mind the resolve to fight climate change for future posterity. Besides a rich basket of information being translated into the local dialect, the farmers will also be treated to good news about the latest new crop varieties.
Experts speak out
David Kalule Okello, national groundnut programme officer at NaSARRI says the future prospects for the groundnut farmers is getting rosier especially with the latest breakthrough on two varieties which are drought resistant. The Naro 1, Naro 2 varieties which are respectively red and tan in colour have the ability to resist rosette virus, a deadly disease transmitted by pest known as aphids.
Okello says two varieties crossed using male and female shots from some of the old varieties have passed the litmus test of all their research stages, “All that remains is to have the seed multiplied and distributed to the stakeholders.” Dr Martin Orawu, the cotton specialists at NaSARRI says similarly farmers will also be treated to good news about the two new varieties of cotton seed that is BPA2015A and BPA2015B, which have been elevated in eastern, central, western and northern regions.
He notes that the two cotton varieties have showed stability with high yielding potential and are much desired on the market for their good fibre quality, adding that today the opportunities for cotton are so positive, with the health sector requiring over 124 metric tonnes of absorbent cotton annually. “I will be much enthusiastic to have the opportunity to share with the stakeholders much on the best management practices on cotton cultivation among other things,” Orawu adds.