Adjumani farmers ask govt to regulate sunflower price
What you need to know:
- The farmers claim, they buy the sunflower seeds expensively and yet they sell cheaply which does not cover the cost of production.
More than 500 sunflower growers in Adjumani District under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), an organisation that is piloting the growing of oilseed crops, are crying foul over the low price of sunflower.
The farmers claim, they buy the sunflower seeds expensively and yet they sell cheaply which does not cover the cost of production.
Mr Godfrey Drici, a resident of Tamana village, said he has persisted in growing sunflower for the last three years because it is resistant to climatic changes and not labour intensive.
“We buy the seeds at the cost of Shs65,000 a kilo but we sell a kilogramme at Shs1,200 upon harvest. We also have challenges of seed dormancy where some seeds do not germinate and these leaves us in losses,” Drici says.
He adds: “At the parish, we produce close to four tonnes of sunflower every season, but we need the assistance of the government to regulate the price of sunflower. We sell at prices imposed on us by the traders.”
Ms Alice Mura, 34, a resident of the same village adds that she has been planting for at least two seasons every year in the last three years.
Mura says, for the last season she harvested six bags of sunflower and she expected to earn Shs500,000 on each sack but was shocked to only get Shs226,000 for each.
“If I get support from the government, I am willing to expand even up to 10 acres, but I am not able to buy seeds for more than three acres. We feel cheated by the buyers because they buy our sunflowers cheaply,” she says.
Farmers need two kilos to plant an acre.
High cost of production
Mr James Logwenya, the agriculture officer of Dzaipi sub-county affirmed that the cost of production of sunflowers is very high.
He says the government has intervened through DINU which is being implemented in the five sub-counties of Dzaipi, Pakele, Adropi, Itirikwa, and Ukosijoni to promote oilseeds production such as sunflower and soybean.
According to Logwenya, the farmers are planting a hybrid variety of sunflower that was imported from South Africa which is being inspected by the Ministry of Agriculture. The sunflower seeds are imported by Mukwano.
“The hybrid seeds cannot be replanted and if they repeat they will get low and poor yields, but farmers who have replanted have experienced how difficult it is, we can only advise them to increase the price so that they can cover the cost of production,” he says.
Filling the oil gap
There is a demand for edible sunflower oil and derived products such as seed cake for animal feed. Meanwhile, the government has been making efforts to ensure domestic oil production increases substantially.
To that end, farmers of the requisite raw materials have been called upon to apply correct technologies and good farming practices as advised by agricultural experts so that they would eventually boost their production.