Nakasongola Community Seed Bank Lying Idle

The Seed Bank was launched by General Salim Saleh with an aim to conserve, increase access to quality and diverse indigenous seeds
05 Oct 2021 11:45
Nakasongola Community Seed Bank which is surrounded by bushes

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Kewerimidde Nakasongola Community Seed Bank in Nakasongola district is lying idle for two years after it was launched. The National Agriculture Research Organization and partners constructed the community seed bank at Nakasongola district headquarters in 2019.  

The seed bank received seed donations as well as support from Biodiversity International and World Agroforestry Center. General Salim Saleh, the national coordinator of the Operation Wealth Creation program launched the seed bank with the aim of conserving and increasing access to quality and diverse indigenous seeds. 

Some of the crop species conserved at the seed bank included Common beans, groundnuts, cassava, millet, maize, and various leafy vegetables. However, two years later, Rogers Kulaba, the Nakasongola District Male Youths Councillor says bushes have taken over the seed bank. Kulaba says that many farmers are still buying fake seeds from markets yet the bank would have helped them to access quality seeds.

Sarah Nakamya, the Nakasongola District Production officer, says that after the launch of the seed bank, NARO and the district mobilized 135 farmers to form an association to manage it. She notes that the Chairperson of the farmers George William Sempungu died shortly after, which plunged the association into a leadership crisis hence affecting the operation of the seed bank. 

Nakamya notes that they are currently engaged in reorganizing the farmers and leadership so that the seed bank resumes normal operations. Sunday Richard Galimaka the Assistant Coordinator of Kewerimidde Nakasongola Community Seed Bank, says that apart from the leadership vacuum, COVID-19 restrictions also affected meetings and mobilization of farmers.  

Galimaka notes that they have elected new leadership and will re-open the seed bank at the end of this season after collecting seeds from farmers. Samuel Kigula, the LC 5 Chairman of Nakasongola district, says while launching the seed bank, General Salim Saleh also expressed scepticism that it will work. Kigula noted that the district needs to support the seed bank if it’s to survive and benefit farmers.

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Another multibillion ice plant designed to promote the fishing industry is also lying idle in Nakasongola district. In 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries industry with support from the African Development Bank constructed an ice plant worth Shillings 2.3 billion at district headquarters. 

It was supposed to produce and supply ice blocks to fishermen at a subsidized cost. The ice blocks are used to preserve fish during transportation to prevent it from rotting. However, 10 years later, the facility is no longer in use after working for only a year.

Authorities say it also lacks water reservoirs and other vital installations.

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