Serere: Farmers worried over poor yields as soil testing equipment at research institute lie idle

SERERE, April 25, 2024 – Farmers in Serere district have raised concerns over poor yields, and farm losses, which they say are brought about by the soil testing equipment that lie idle at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute [NaSARRI].

Julius Etelu Otai, a resident from Serere expressed his concern that NaSARRI is doing nothing to address the farmers’ concern of having soils in the district tested for crop production.

“The soil testing machine that would have helped farmers to test their soil types is not operational and this has affected us farmers drastically,” said Otai.

He noted farmers in the district currently plant crops in whatever soil is available, leading to low yields, and losses.

“In my opinion the research institute [NaSARRI] should extend extension services to farmers in different areas to help boost crop yields,” said Otai.

In the same vein, Ben okolimong, a resident of okulonyo, said farmers in Serere district have no option but to gamble when it comes to knowing which soils are suitable for which crops.

He added: “If only this machine was operational, farmers would for sure know which soil is suitable for their crops, hence helping them to get better harvests.”

Meanwhile, John Charles Aruu, a finger millet breeding expert at NaSARRI confirmed that the soil machine has not been functional for about fourth years now.

He said the soil testing activity was reverted to Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute [KARI] in Wakiso district, in Central Uganda. “So, when we have any urgency on soils, we take the samples to Kawanda Agricultural Research Institute,” he said.

KARI is affiliated to the National Agricultural Research Organisation [NARO] mandated to undertake research in all aspects of agriculture including crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry, agro-machinery, natural resources and socio-economics.

However, Aruu in an interview with this reporter, conceded that there is an urgent need to test soil Serere district and Teso Subregion at large.

Some crops cultivated in Serere district include sweet potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, maize, rice, groundnuts and cowpeas. mangoes, cotton and sunflower.

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