Uganda's seed sector crippled by lack of inspectors--report
Agribusiness

Uganda’s seed sector crippled by lack of inspectors–report

Uganda’s seed sector crippled by lack of inspectors–report: Preliminary findings from the study conducted by the African Seed Access Index (TASAI)  in Uganda warns that the country’s seeds  market sector will be  flooded  with Imported seeds   if the country does not strengthen the local  seeds  sector .

The study reveals that though Uganda has many seeds breeders and vibrant private sector to commercialize foundation seeds, the country is still challenged with the bottleneck of inadequate technical team to certify the locally produced seeds before entering on the local market.

Presenting the findings in Kampala, Mainza Mugoya the Regional Coordinator  TASAI  said  Uganda   needs to recruit  more seed inspectors if the country is to compete favorably on both local regional and international markets for seeds especially  in the subsectors of Legumes  and grain crops respectively.

“According to our findings, the National  Seed certification Services(NSCS) in2017 employed  seven  seed inspectors .This  number is very  low  in comparison to other  African  countries  such as Ghana   Kenya  Malawi , Tanzania  and especially those in the COMESA region, “ He said.

In the report, it is recommended that Uganda needs to increase on the number of qualified public seed inspectors at her NSCS to carry out seed inspection and this can be done by certifying more inspectors in the private sector to support government inspectors like what other countries such as Zimbabwe and Kenya are doing.

“Uganda  can draw  lessons from  Kenya , Zambia  and Zimbabwe  where  precedent has already  been  set  for such  arrangements. In 2016, Zambia  had 86 private seed inspectors  while  Zimbabwe  had 46 private seed inspectors .This  was equivalent  to 70%   and 77%  of  the total number  of seed  inspectors  respectively. In Kenya, the number has gone up to 15 private inspectors “The report  reads in apart.

TASAI  is a seed industry  research initiative that seeks to  encourage  public and policy makers  to create  and maintain enabling  environments  that will  accelerate  the development  of a competitive  formal  seed system  among African countries .

Previous TASAI studies  in Uganda  have been  conducted in 2013/14 and 2015/16 ending towards the beginning of 2018.The study focused  on four grain  legume crops  important  to food security  in Uganda  that is maize , beans Sorghum and  millet and the findings highlight that farmers are not accessing quality seeds for the above crops due to limited inspectors .

The situation analysis’s for Uganda makes it that  the  Environment for seed industry is  not competitive  in the region yet  a competitive seed  sector  is key to  ensuring  timely  availability of  high  quality  seeds  at affordable  prices  to small holder  farmers  in the country.

Once the situation remains in that form this will compel the private sector to import seed’s   from the regional markets where seed certification is being done at much faster than Uganda.

According to the current legal regimes governing the COMESA countries once seed variety has been developed and tested and it meets all the standards (growing well )in at  least in two members’ states then the variety can be sold in all member states markets .

The chairman of the Uganda Seed Traders Association, Narcis Tumushabe once the semi Agency is created it will support the mobilization of resources from both Government and the private sector to finance the core key activities of the agency.

BY SAMUEL NABWIISO