Farmers in Uganda want government to promote growing of indigenous crops which they say are cheap to produce and play big role in Biodiversity conservation.
They urge that promoting the growing of Hybrid crops in the country has cost implications to the ordinary farmers since they depend on seeds produced by seed companies. This was among the issues raised during the 8th Annual Indigenous and Traditional Food Fair organized by Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) in Kampala on October 19.
Farmers who were exhibiting indigenous crop varieties said many farmers cannot afford the Hybrid seeds on the market because of high prices and even those who are able to buy such seeds are finding it difficult to access the seeds due to poor distribution channels in the country.
“Government need to support farmers by establishing Seed banks at the sub country level where we can preserve our Indigenous seeds this will help farmers to access them during the planting seasons this will relieve us from buying expensive and on many occasion fake Hybrid seeds on the market,” said Lydia Nabirye, a farmer from Iganga District.
Indigenous Vs hybrid crops
According to Stella Lutalo, the country Director PELUM Uganda, indigenous and traditional seed systems contribute to the conservation of agriculture biodiversity and are critical in diversity of foods to ensure dietary mixture in small holder communities.
She noted that expanding Industrial agriculture has a big impact on the country’s environment due to the chemicals released from inorganic fertilizers which are highly used in the growing of hybrid crops.
“Such chemical contribute to the release of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Relying on planting genetic diversity improved and high yielding varieties undermines food security and conservation of agro-biodiversity in the country,” she explained.
Speaking at the same event, Vincent Waboya, a member on the parliamentary committee on Agriculture in the parliament of Uganda, said the House is in the process of developing policies that will support farmers in growing indigenous crops alongside the hybrids.
Government has been promoting the growing of hybrid crop varieties in its effort to increase production and mitigate agricultural challenges associated with weather.
However, farmers urge that such varieties are expensive, something that increases the cost of production in the agriculture sector.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO