Farmers in Acholi Struggle to Find Qaulity Seeds for Second Planting Season

Geoffrey Komakech, another farmer in Pabbo Sub County is also seeking Shillings 190,000 to buy hybrid ground nuts seeds for his four-acre garden but he has failed to get it.
Brenda Apiyo in her okra garden. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

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Farmers in Acholi Sub Region are struggling to find quality seeds for the second planting season. The second plating season mainly starts at the onset of the second rainy season, which commences in early June. The majority of the farmers especially in the rural areas have already opened up several acres of land for the second planting season, which starts in July up to August.

However, the farmers are complaining that they are finding it hard to acquire high quality yielding seeds due to the lockdown, which saw the suspension of both private and public transport. The farmers argue that the prolonged dry spell that affected Acholi Sub Region between May and June also affected that their crops, which withered and dried up in the garden hence denying them quality seeds.

It is a common practice for farmers in Acholi Sub Region to keep parts of their harvests for seeds. Stephen Onek, a farmer in Parubanga Parish in Pabbo Sub County told URN on Saturday that he has no seeds for his four-acre garden, which he has already opened and intends to plant maize and beans. 

Onek, who lost four acres of maize and sorghum to the prolonged dry spell, says that he now requires two basins of hybrid seeds worth Shillings 115,000 but can hardly get the money.   Geoffrey Komakech, another farmer in Pabbo Sub County is also seeking Shillings 190,000 to buy hybrid ground nuts seeds for his four-acre garden but he has failed to get it.   Komakech planted four acres of groundnuts and rice in the first season, which dried due to the prolonged dry spell and unreliable rainfall. He is now appealing for assistance from the government. Thomas Obina, a large scale farmer in Payibi Village lost his seven-acre of maize and millet garden to the prolonged dry spell and is now stuck without seeds.

Obina noted that his hopes of planting this second season have vanished, adding that has failed to open any more land for planting. Twenty-five-year-old Brenda Apiyo from Laminadera Village in Omoro district is also struggling to find seeds for her one-acre garden, which she hired at Shillings 120,000 to plant onions, tomatoes, okra, green paper and dodo. 

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Bosco Oloya, from Pabbo Sub County in Amuru district, is seeking Shillings 150,000 to buy bean seeds for his three-acre garden. He has now turned to politicians to help him buy the seeds.

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Alice Atim, a member of Oitino Green Growers Cooperative in Gulu City, which comprises more than 120 farmers, says that they are also in the process of opening several acres of garden to plant beans, rice, sorghum and soya beans for commercial purposes but they are stuck without seeds. In the open markets in most districts in Acholi Sub Region, a kilogram of fast-maturing hybrid ranges between Shillings 5,000 and Shillings 180,000 depending on the type.   

For instance, a kilogram of maize costs Shillings 14,000, beans Shillings 7,000, rice Shillings 5,000 and tomatoes Shillings 180,000 among others.  Richard Sejjoba, an agronomist at Agrithon Agro-Vet supplies explains that a farmer requires at least ten kilograms of the seeds for an acre of garden. He has also emphasised the need for planting hybrid seeds, monitoring weather updates, early preparation of gardens and also construction irrigation systems. 

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Gilbert Olanya, the General Secretary Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) disclosed to URN that his office is equally overwhelmed with requests for seeds by farmers who say that the long dry spell destroyed their crops and left them with little or no yields.  He says APG is planning to engage the Office of the Prime Minister to solicit seeds and support the farmers.

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