Farmers are crying foul over the ongoing registration of indigenous seeds, saying it is a ploy by some government officials technically phase out the seeds and promote hybrids.
The registration of indigenous seeds began last year and is being implement by district agricultural officers. The registration of all indigenous seeds is aimed at protecting them.
However, some farmers told URN last week that they don't trust the exercise. The farmers were drawn from numerous associations in Mityana, Ngora, Masaka and Kitgum districts.
They want president, Yoweri Museveni to intervene and stop the exercise. Joseph Magezi, the chairperson Mityana Farmer's Association says farmers are unsettled by the ongoing registration because it might lead to the phasing out of indigenous seeds.
He says the improved seed varieties don't give farmers the option of replanting like the indigenous seeds do.
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The farmers also accuse those registering their seed of exchanging them with hybrid brands. "Some of us have taken our seeds for registration but when they bring it back, it is different. For maize, you cannot use the grown seed to plant another season,” Magezi said.
Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director Food Rights Alliance, says they have embarked on a countrywide campaign calling farmers to resist the seed registration program.
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Dr. Bonny Ntare, a seed scientist says Uganda has so many indigenous food species. He suggests that farmers start seed banks as a means of protecting their livelihoods.
"Instead of registering seeds set up banks that will protect your seed. Today, it is hard to find indigenous matooke species because new breeds have come in,” he said.
The registration of seed is one of the major undertakings under the proposed national seed policy that is supposed to ensure the importation of quality seed into the country. The policy is also supposed to safe guard indigenous species.