Seed Security in Uganda: Current status, issues and challenges

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S. Kiwanuka
J. Kintu


It has been osberved that for most crops in Uganda, yields are less than a third of thier potential. Despite the promotion campaign for new varieties by many national and multinational seed companies, farmers are still producing and exchanging seed informally. Among them are farmers who cannot afford the cost of seed coming out of the formal systems and those whose needs are not fully addressed by the seeds available on the formal market. Oflate, introduction of genetic engineering in the development of new seed varieties has also raised more concerns to smallholder farmers in developing countries, as well as consumers and environmentalists. This report examines the key elements of seed security in Uganda and how to improve agricultural productivity for farmers to achieve food sufficiency. The study specifically aimed at investigating the formal and informal seed security initiatives and how they relate to current policies and laws. The study was mainly qualitative in nature and used participatory research assessment tools while collecting data from the field in addition to the literature review. It covered four districts  representing the key agro-ecological regions in the country, i.e. Soroti, Wakiso, Masindi,  and Kasese. The findings show that majority of the farmers in Uganda depend on informal seed systems like farm saved seeds and seed exchange. This seed exchange involves transfer of indigenous and community knowlege and practices, which are often accompanied by information about how best to plant, nurture and harvest seed. This practice has also been a cornerstone of agro biodiversity and food security for a long time. The role of government in seed supply has been diminishing overtime due to recent policy reforms, which aim at supporting the private sector to take up a dorminant role. Uganda does not have a comprehensive seed security policy, while most of the legal guidelines on seed are outdated or being developed. There is still need for the government to increase public investment especially for seed research and distribution and not entirely rely on the private sector. The current private sector is still undeveloped to serve interests  of different groups of farmers especially the poor. It is recommended that more effort be directed towards the development of community seed banks as well as putting in place seed fairs and farmer exchange visits in order to preserve germplasm and for future seed improvement.



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How to Cite
Kiwanuka , S., & Kintu, J. (2004). Seed Security in Uganda: Current status, issues and challenges. Uganda Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 9(1), 17–22. Retrieved from