Why storage and handling are to blame for Uganda's poor quality seed

phys.org | 2/28/2019 | Staff
bethtetleybethtetley (Posted by) Level 4
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The quality of purchased seeds, such as maize, groundnuts and others, is a major concern in Uganda.

Evidence from recent studies indicates that farmers all over the country have been slow to adopt improved seeds, such as those that protect against drought. Farmers prefer to use seeds they've saved from the last season; these are generally of poor quality and don't protect against weather problems. This suggests that, for Uganda's farmers, the cost of improved seeds – which are more expensive than home-saved seeds – outweighs any of the benefits.

Farmers - Quality - Inputs - Fertiliser - Seeds

Farmers are also concerned about the quality of agricultural inputs like fertiliser, seeds and pesticides. They worry about the potential for these to be adulterated and contaminated. For example, a recent study found that a bag of fertiliser picked at random had only half of the nitrogen content it should. This meant there was little value to using it. The authors also looked at yields from improved maize seeds and discovered a similar situation.

One reason that's widely cited for low yields is deliberate adulteration of seeds by sellers along the supply chain. The assumption is that sellers deliberately introduce grains or even stones into bags of seed to increase the weight. When the farmer uses these seeds, most don't germinate. However, no one has ever identified adulteration – it's simply assumed this is what is causing the problem.

Policy - Certification - Seeds - Source - E-verification

This means that agricultural policy has tended to focus on certification of seeds, including labelling at the source, e-verification and requiring bags that are not easy to open until the farmer has them. But little effort has been made to improve the quality control of the seed supply chain as a whole, including transportation networks and storage at the end seller.

Uganda's certification and oversight of seeds has proven inadequate for ensuring that farmers obtain good...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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