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Lira soybean farmers ask for enhanced seeds

LIRA, September 20, 2023 – Farmers under Nyekorac Community Farmers’ Cooperative Limited have asked the Soybean developers to produce improved seeds that can withstand climate change, saying this would save them from suffering losses.

The call was made during the recent monitoring and fact-checking activity organised by the National Oil Seed Project [NOSP] in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD] and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fishery [MAAIF] at the Cooperative Institute in Ogur Sub-county Lira district.

While interacting with agriculturalists, the farmers said they are unable to harvest soybeans in bulk due to climate change and that this is affecting their livelihoods.

Nyekorac Community Farmers’ Cooperative Limited grows oil seeds such as soybeans simsim, sunflower, and maize.

According to the cooperative’s general manager, Denis Opio, climate change has caused trouble to farmers in Lango, with some being able to do farming only in one season due to prolonged drought.

“Climate change is a big problem, we used to have two farming seasons but right now, we almost have only one season. For instance, last season we didn’t have good rainfall and this season, it was late. That means we have to put our minds together and find  a remedy for this climate change,” Opio said.

Opio urged developers to at least produce for them fast-maturing soybean seeds, saying this would save the farmers from incurring losses.

He added: “You need to go back to the drawing board and develop for us a tolerant variety of soybeans so that we are able to catch up with time and have good yields because we are ready to promote your product.”

In response, Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa, a professor of plant breeding and genetics at Makerere University, said they have developed soybean varieties that are resilient to diseases, pests, and climatic changes that they will release soon.

“We are concerned about  climate change that is in existence right now, a reason we have got those varieties that we are about to release but another good thing is that generally soybean seeds are resilient to drought and climate changes, it is one of the crops that farmers can depend on,” he said.

Tukamuhabwa however applauded farmers in Lango Sub-region for embracing the growing of oil seeds such as groundnuts, simsim, and maize among others.

He also urged the farmers in Lango Sub-region to continue planning more and use good farming methodologies so that they can get good yields.

“I’m glad that Lango Sub-region is the best producer of these soybean varieties, we therefore, encourage our farmers to plant more and use the best approaches like applying manure, put in enough plant population because that is key to having more seeds or yields per unit area so that they can get more yields,” he said.

He said Makerere University has developed soybean varieties like Macsoy 1M, Macsay2N, Macsoy3N, Macsoy4N, Macsoy5N and Macsoy 6N.

Meanwhile, Solomon Okino, the coordinator of Lira Hub National Oil Seed Project said that they are coordinating with the cooperatives dealing in oil seeds, and input dealers to solve the problem of poor seeds.

“We are working together with these key stakeholders to connect them to Makerere University so that they have access to good oil seeds that are being produced for better yield,” he said.

Nyekorac Community Farmers’ Cooperative Limited has a total of number 3,500 farmers across Lango Sub-region who have been grouped into 45 rural farmers’ groups which are served by extension workers.

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