Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uganda: Country Embarks on Seed Improvement

Aidah Nanyonjo, The New Vision [Uganda], 09/12/2008

UGANDA has embarked on a two- year project to develop and adapt seed varieties that grow well in the local environment.

Dr. Peter Seruwagi, the head of Horticulture programme at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCCRI), Namulonge says the multi million project which is called 'Vegetable breeding and seed systems' is funded by the Bill and Merinda Gates foundation through the World vegetable centre.

"We want to come up with seed varieties that are of good quality for improved productivity as well as consumption," he said. Seruwagi says most imported seed varieties especially for horticulture do not do well in the Ugandan environment. The project will cover tomatoes, egg plants, onions and other vegetables.

"It is not true that all the imported seeds are of low quality. They may be of high quality in the country of origin, but due to climatic differences they fail to do well here. We have received several cases where these seeds fail to germinate," he says.

The institute has organised a seed fair where Ugandan seed companies will exhibit their products. The seed fair, with a theme 'Vegetables for health and wealth,' will take place on December 12.

"As part of the project, the seed fair aims at promoting the use of quality seeds and increased vegetable production for income generation," he says.He said the market for vegetables has grown widely following the benefits they contain.

"Eating a wide variety of vegetables means you are more likely to get all the vitamins and minerals that are important to your health," Seruwagi added.