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Kitgum District Rejects Immature Seedlings Worth UGX 24m

The district received 8,000 seedlings that were supplied by three different suppliers under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). But only one supplier met the specifications to supply seedlings of between 30 to 75 centimetres.
25 Apr 2022 17:12
Part of the 4000 cashew nut seedlings accepted by the district. Photo by Caroline Ayugi

Audio 2

The receiving committee in Kitgum district has rejected 4,000 cashew nut seedlings for failing the required specifications. 

The district received 8,000 seedlings that were supplied by three different suppliers under Operation Wealth Creation (OWC). But only one supplier met the specifications to supply seedlings of between 30 to 75 centimetres.

While inspecting the seedlings, Kitgum Resident District Commissioner William Komakech, noted that half of the supplies worth 24 million Shillings were immature and could not withstand harsh weather. Komakech advised the suppliers to take back the seedlings and leave them for at least a week before bringing them back to the district headquarters.

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Denis Ocira, the District Agricultural Officer, notes that the stems of the rejected seedlings were still milky and too delicate to be handled by most farmers in the district.

Ocira says the seedlings needed to take between 2-3 months in the nursery bed, but the rejected ones seem to have lasted only a month and a half and were only between 15-20 centimetres long. He adds that the surface areas of the leaves were also very small, which would make it hard for the seedlings to produce food for themselves.

“And you see the leaf sizes. Very tiny. That means they are still very young. So the leaf surface area will not allow it to establish itself very fast. And sometimes the transplanting shocks alone will kill them, “he says. 

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The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) introduced cashew nuts among the perennial crops under Operation Wealth Operation in 2017. 

Through, NAADS, the government allocated one billion Shillings for the procurement of the improved cashew nut seedlings, and in 2019, more than 166,900 improved cashew nut seedlings were procured and distributed in 28 districts in Uganda. In Kitgum district, the plant was introduced in 2021.

Rtd Lt. Col. Charles Bokello Odur, who coordinates the Operation Wealth Operation program in Kitgum district says last year they started with 4,000 seedlings which are so far doing well, that is why the government doubled the quantity this year.

Apart from its nuts providing a crunchy, tasty snack, products from the cashew nut tree can be used to make varnishes, industrial flooring tiles, water-proof papers, paints, and gum among others.