The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), with support from Biodiversity International, and Climate Change Agricultural and Food Security (CCAFS) has established a community seed bank at Kibaire village in Kyabigambire sub-county, Hoima district.
The Hoima Community Seed Bank-HOCOSEB, worth $15,000 (approximately Ushs. 55 million) will be used for preserving indigenous seeds to make them available to farmers who may need to grow a particular variety.
Speaking during the launch, at Kibaire Primary school, the Director General of NARO, Dr. Ambrose Agona encouraged farmers to bring seed varieties, to grow the seed bank.
Mr. Samuel Kisembo, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Hoima commended the government and partners, on the initiative, saying it will go a long way in preserving the traditional seeds.
Mr. Kadir Kirungi, the Hoima district Local Council (LC) 5 Chairman urged the community to embrace food security and nutrition. He challenged NARO to ensure that they offer the seedlings to the community, in time.
During the launch, farmers from parts of the country: Mityana, Kampala, Kawempe, Wobulenzi and Mpigi exhibited their seed varieties.
However, a one John Kyaboona, a maize grower from Kibaire asked government to not only give them support, but also prepare them to form big farmers’ organizations like cooperatives, that can help them share different ideas to develop themselves.
He also noted that inadequate funds to facilitate planting, weeding, harvesting and purchase of quality seeds for planting, and insufficient rainfall remain some of the challenges affecting farmers.
The Local Council (LC) 3 Chairman, Mr. Alex Kyabigambire Mwesigwa expressed concern regarding the fact that farmers have not been sensitized well on how to utilize the community seed bank.
He added that farmers do not have the capacity to manage the seed bank because their approach is to cultivate and eat, and not to store some seeds in a community seed bank. He further noted that farmers have a challenge of poor quality seeds and might not meet the high-quality requirements of the seed bank.
Mr. Mwesigwa asked the government sister organizations that have established seed banks in his area to continue sensitizing the farmers and encouraging them to embrace large-scale farming. This is because farmers in Kyabigambire practise small scale farming that cannot make them develop.