When small holder farmers form cooperatives, NARO can support them with technical skills to enable them establish community seed banks. When this is done we shall solve the problem of counterfeit seeds on the market and poor market distribution. Farmers have been alleging that they are being supplied with fake seeds by the private sector,” Mulumba Waswa of the Plant Genetic Resources Centre said last week.
The experts say that although the research agency has tried to develop wide varieties of improved seeds at their various crops research institutes countrywide many farmers in the country have failed to access such seeds as the private sector dominates the massive re-production of the breed varieties.
PGRC is a government agency under NARO responsible for conservation of seeds in the country, According to insiders, the centre has about 3,000 conserved seed varieties of different crops grown in the country. Mulumba was speaking during a public dialogue on seed varieties organized by the Eastern and Southern Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) in Kampala. He said farmer participation in seeds production will not only help them to get access to quality indigenous seed varieties, but also the boost community seed banks.
During the same dialogue, the state Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempijja, told farmers the Ministry is in the final stages of the National seed policy Draft adoption by Cabinet and later presented before the agriculture committee of parliament for further discussion before being tabled on the floor of Parliament. He said if the policy is in place it will help the agricultural ministry to implement some of the stringent regulations that govern the seed sectors in the country. However, he also asked small holder famers to form cooperatives. He said this would help them to access lucrative market both locally and internationally.