By Gloria Nakiyimba
The National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) has commenced the verification exercise for seeds and seedlings ahead of the planting season that is expected to begin in March 2021.
As farmers wait for stable rains to begin planting, NAADS has commenced the verification of seeds and seedlings that will be distributed to farmers under the Government initiative to contribute to the transformation of the agricultural sector through the provision of agricultural inputs, agribusiness and value chain development for improved household food security and incomes.
The Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon. Vincent Ssempijja recently warned farmers to desist from early planting of their crops due to the unstable season with minimal rainfall. As the farmers wait for the stable rains, NAADS Secretariat has embarked on the exercise to verify the planting materials (seeds and seedlings) that are to be procured by NAADS and distributed to the farmers.
The exercise is aimed at ensuring the quality for all planting materials and ascertaining the available quantities of materials produced by the suppliers. The ultimate goal is to achieve improved production and productivity for the planting materials to be supplied.
A team consisting of technical officers from NAADS Secretariat, NARO and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries was constituted to conduct the exercise which commenced last week. The team is supported by technical Officers from District Local Governments in the respective Agro-ecological zones. The team is visiting different seed stores (maize and beans), and nursery beds for mango & citrus seedlings, pineapple suckers and cassava cuttings across the different ecological zones in the country.
This exercise which is expected to take two weeks will cover all the contracted suppliers of Mango and Citrus Seedlings, pineapple Suckers as well as Cassava cuttings in Six Mango Citrus Clusters, four (4) Pineapple Clusters and cassava specified regions respectively with in the different Agro-ecological zones across the Country.
According to the Executive Director NAADS, the information collected from the exercise is to be used during allocation of the respective categories of planting materials to different suppliers and subsequently to prepare call off orders for the supply of materials.
NAADS in collaboration with Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) will supply planting materials including maize and bean seed, mango seedlings, citrus seedlings, pineapple suckers, cassava cuttings and cashew nuts seedlings in the selected clusters/regions across the country. The materials are for the first planting season of the year 2021 which starts in March 2021.