What you need to know:
- Less than 10 per cent of the world’s smallholder farmers have access to the improved, quality seeds that can halt hunger and tolerate impacts of climate change, a new report shows.
Around March, farmers in major agricultural areas buy beans and maize seeds as the first rains set in most parts of the country.
The seeds are usually on high demand since they yield quick-maturing crops.
But Daily Monitor has established that the current lockdown across the country in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, most farmers and seed dealers in Lango Sub-region have been caught off guard.
The field manager of Nile Farmers Centre in Lira Town, Mr Sam Aliga, said their sales have dropped dramatically because of restriction of people’s movement.
Mr Aliga said most of their customers live in rural areas and use public transport to move in order to shop for seeds.
“Some of them have motorcycles and bicycles, but they fear coming to town because they fear the roadblocks mounted by police on most roads,” he said.
Similarly, seed companies and input shops have reported significant decreases in seed and input sales in the past one month.
Ms Annet Nalumu, a farmer in Lira Sub-county, Lira District, said the seeds they recently bought from dealers never germinated.
This, she said, forced many of them to start planting the locally grown seeds.
She said the seeds had overstayed in shops because of lack of customers.
Ms Brenda Kasango, another farmer, said the farmers have become frustrated because most of the seeds planted do not germinate.
Currently, between 30 per cent and 40 per cent seeds on the market are estimated to be counterfeits.
Kole-based Alito Joint Christian Farmers’ Cooperative Society, however, said they have registered increase in seed sales as they sell to both farmers and seed dealers.
The chairman of the cooperative society, Mr Christopher Okwang, said: “Since dealers of farm inputs have been allowed to remain operational during this lockdown, we are making deliveries of seeds using our trucks and other cargo trucks.”
Mr Okwanga said they have about 300 acres of seed multipliers of soya beans Mak 1-6 variety and they are also promoting bean seeds.
Quality seeds. Less than 10 per cent of the world’s smallholder farmers have access to the improved, quality seeds that can halt hunger and tolerate impacts of climate change, a new report shows.
The Access to Seeds Index 2019 report reveals that only 47 million of the world’s 500 million smallholder farmers were able to acquire improved seeds from the world’s 13 biggest global seed companies in 2017.
The index, published by the Netherlands-based nonprofit Access to Seeds Foundation, evaluated the work of leading global seed companies with specific emphasis on how the industry can do more to raise smallholder farmer productivity, improve nutrition and mitigate the effects of climate change through the development and dissemination of quality seeds.