Successful farming begins with using the right seeds and the right livestock breeds. In what is perhaps the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic thousands have lost their jobs and are planning to try farming as their new occupation.
Many aspiring farmers are busy doing ground preparation ahead of the next rains.
However, they must avoid planting poor quality seeds in order not to suffer losses. It is important for somebody intending to grow coffee, for example, to look around for a coffee nursery that supplies the right seedlings.
It would even be prudent to seek guidance from the area agricultural extension services officer regarding where to purchase the right planting material. Agricultural research institutes are also good places to go for guidance.
Many of them are involved in breeding seeds. Visiting successful farmers in the neighbourhood and inquiring from them where they source their planting material is another sure way of procuring good quality seed.
Good choice of planting material is crucial because of the current challenges facing agriculture including incurable crop diseases and climate change. You don’t want to plant crops and lose them to disease or drought.
Some may not even germinate. There are seeds and seedlings varieties on the market that are bred to resist pests and diseases.
Some planting materials are bred to tolerate drought. There are some which are bred to mature early while other are bred to be high yielding, good tasting and nutritious. Tissue culture seedlings are also much recommended because they are disease-free and, with the right husbandry, the farmer is assured of good results.
Farmers can also get quality seeds from the Agriculture Cluster Development Project. Poor quality seeds will not produce good yields even with fertiliser application or irrigation.
Farmers’ shops may be relied upon to supply good quality seeds but farmers must be careful since some seed companies have been linked to supplying fake seeds. According to the Access to Seeds Index 2019 report, only 47 million of the world’s smallholder farmers were able to acquire improved seeds from the world’s 13 biggest seed companies in 2017.
Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran
journalist and a farmer