MAAIF research fruits in Uganda

What you need to know:

For years, promotion of upland rice production was the most important in Uganda.

Nonetheless, yields dropped due to drought continued to be a major drawback.

“However, several initiatives aimed at increasing rice production have been made like production of improved seed variety and now for rice, we are introducing flood irrigation schemes, through the Agriculture Value Chain Development project,” Dr Jimmy Lamwo, a rice breeder and programme leader for cereals at NARO says.

Therefore, in the last two years, Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme (AVCP) – Project 1 has supported and funded NARO and NACRRI to produce 0.4 tons of rice breeder seed and 9.75 tons of foundation seed of different varieties for demonstration by selected farmer groups and associations which specialized in rice growing.

One of the beneficiaries of the improved rice varieties is Mr Omara Joseph, the host farmer and chairman of the Sun-Stand Still Farmer’s Cooperative based in Otuke District.

This cooperative comprises of more than 20 small-scale farmer groups spread out in Amolatar, Oyam, Otuke districts among others.

As a result, these groups, through this parent farmer cooperative have been supported to engage in rice seed multiplication and enhance local seed business in Lango sub region.

The focus is specifically increasing availability, adoption, and accessibility of the new rice variety of ARU 1189 to other individual farmers and farmer groups under AVCP-1 project districts.

As a model experienced nucleus rice farmer who started in 2014, Mr Omara was chosen as a host farmer and received 150kgs of rice seed and 350 bags of NPK fertilizers to cultivate, multiply and eventually to distribute.

He testifies to harvesting 12 bags (100 kg each) per 60 acres of ARU-1189 rice variety. He says this variety takes a shorter time (115 days) to mature than other varieties, has good grain quality, has a sweet aroma upon cooking, and remains segmented after cooking.

He adds that this variety thrives well in less waterlogged areas, thus thriving in the district. This attribute was seen as an opportunity by many farmers and farmer groups under this cooperative.


Mr Omara says although the region suffered  drought, his farmer groups still managed to harvest more from their gardens.

“Last year, while it was raining in neighbouring districts, our area experienced long dry spells and it was a very bad year for us. However, out of all the rice varieties planted here, the ARU-1189 variety survived,” he says.

Farmers from field schools participate in the establishment of demonstration rice production beds at Acomai Irrigation scheme.

Future plans

Mr Omara says with continued support from the AVCP project, through NARO, farmers in this cooperative will focus on seed multiplication and post-harvest handling techniques.

However, he says that rather than increase the number of farmer groups, they are focusing on empowering individual farmers.

“We are promoting individual household income, not groups. For one household to grow, it needs individual contribution,” Mr Omara says.