Farmers in Teso have been greeted with news of a new improved variety of finger millet that researchers at National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), in Serere, say is a potential ingredient for brewing lager, a type of beer widely drunk in the Ugandan market.
This would bring the number of crops for use in beer-making to two, which have developed at the agricultural institute. This is after the Seso sorghum varieties that are widely grown in the region.
J. S. Atodi, a research technician at NaSARRI, says that the finger millet, named SEC 915, is a new variety that arises from work done by the crop breeders and technicians at the agricultural research institute.
It has a high element of yeast in it, which makes it a potential ingredient for making of lager. “It takes just three months to be ready for harvest unlike other millet varieties,” he explains, adding that the millet variety, which was researched for the last one year, has bigger grains. This makes it an economically viable cash crop for farmers to cultivate to enhance their livelihoods.
“We are engaging the breweries to have the variety sold out for them for making beer and once this is done; its good news for us researchers and farmers,” he says.
Since the Seso sorghum varieties were developed, the livelihoods of of the farmers who have adopted them in last 10 years, have changed as the sorghum is being used for making certain brands of beers on the market. “The sorghum is early maturing and fetches the farmers more income,” he adds saying, with this other crop being released, the future of Teso agriculture sector seems promising.
Mr Fred Okello, a Seso sorghum farmer, remarks this is good news, thanking the NaSARRI team for its commitment to ensuring that they have some cash crops to rely on to meet the needs of their families.