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