Government has Tuesday launched the National Seed Policy which the Ministry of Agriculture says will ensure effective regulation and fundamentally boost crop harvests in the sector.
The Policy aims at promoting food security and quality of seeds for small holder and commercial farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture shall in collaboration with other relevant agencies, be responsible for operationalization of the National Seed Policy and enforcement of seed and plant related laws and regulations of the seed sub-sector.
The Policy involves aspects on development of seed production and supply chain, infrastructure, plant breeding, processing, quality control, distribution & use of seed.
While speaking to the press after the launch at Protea Hotel, Pius Kasajja, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture said that the lack of this policy has facilitated the problem of fake and substandard seeds on the market which critically affects production.
“We are glad that today, we have been able to reach this milestone – to see that the policy has been launched. When you look at the production and productivity, we have quite a number of challenges but seeds are one of those issues,” Kasajja said.
He said the policy provides guidelines on how seeds should be handled from the research, to the seed multipliers and to the farmers who eventually plant the seed.
“Eventually, the various laws will come into play to see that people who are not following the policy are handled according to the regulations and laws of the country,” the Permanent Secretary said.
According to Kasajja, the policy will allow for food security, increase in both household income as well as the agricultural exports.
In explaining how government intends to address the poor quality of seeds, he said that all genuine seeds bear a code to help farmers easily identify good seeds from the poor quality ones.
Uganda has a total of 35 certified seed companies producing 18,000 metric tons of seed. But this volume is only 30 percent of the seed quantity required in the Ugandan market.
The vision of the policy is “A competitive, profitable and sustainable seed sub-sector where farmers and all seed users have access to affordable quality seed”.
It will guide, promote, develop and regulate the seed sub-sector in order to ensure availability and access to safe and high-quality seed to all stakeholders for increased food and nutrition security, household income, wealth creation and export earnings.
Goverment believes that with the National Seed Policy in place, it will enable Uganda to exploit the huge opportunity in the regional and international seed market through an expanded, well-regulated and competitive seed sub-sector.