The hunger for agricultural knowledge was evident at the 23rd edition of the Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic held at the Abi ZARDI in Arua District last Saturday.
On the D-day, only invited farmers started trooping to the venue as early as 8am. Some came on motorbikes, others rode in taxis and buses while a good number arrived in personal vehicles.
The farmers – young and old – came from as far as Yumbe, Nebbi, Adjumani, Lira, Gulu, Koboko, DRC, South Sudan and Madi Okollo, with the warm weather providing a perfect environment for learning.
To offer the invaluable agricultural lessons were experts from National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro), Muni University, Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Stanbic Bank and Bank of Uganda (BoU).
Sadik Kassim, the deputy director general at Naro, said the Seeds of Gold farm clinics have enabled farmers across the country to access the right information from qualified researchers.
“The farm clinics are becoming bigger and better. We have had an increase in the number of farmers who attended the clinics, interestingly, most farmers travelled to the clinic because they heard about it from other farmers who attended and learnt new technologies,” he noted.
Kassim said Naro has increased the number of agronomists to accommodate the farmers’ issues.
Elizabeth Namaganda, the marketing manager at Monitor Publications Limited, said the only way to understand farmers’ psychology is through asking questions and getting answers.
From that, she said, the solutions to their challenges become easier to find. This is one of the objectives of Seeds of Gold clinics.
Namaganda also said the clinics continue to show farmers’ growing quest for information.
“Engagement between farmers and the experts has become more intense with the former now saying they are farming from a point of information. It affirms our commitment to scale the clinics to every county in the country,” she said.
Push and pull technology
Sisto Moja, a crop expert at Abi ZARDI, asked farmers to adopt push and pull technology to tackle pests’ invasion in their fields.
“The pull technology entails planting of napier grass which attracts the pest then traps them. On the other hand, farmers can use push technology that involves growing desmodium which repels the pests. They can also intercrop the desmodium with the maize or sorghum to control stem borer and the armyworm,” said the expert.
He added that molasses grass (Melinis minutiflora) when planted also repels ticks in animals.