NARO participated in the Annual PEWOSA agribusiness expo held at Buddu Saza ground in Masaka City. The event which took place on 19-25th September is part of the CBS drives to support government programmes like agriculture through community outreach. This participation is one of the partnership activities carried out with Buganda Kingdom that help to disseminate NARO’s products and services the farmers and other end-users. Mukono ZARDI as the Institute mandated to operate in the central region represented NARO in collaboration with the NaCRRI-horticulture programme.
During the expo, the farming community of more than 3000 in the Greater Masaka sub-region flocked the Agri-business expo to access quality seed and interact with the scientists to get solutions to the crops, fish, animals and soil management challenges.
While speaking to the scientists, Hon. Amis Kakomo, Minister of Agriculture, Trade and Cooperatives in the Buganda Kingdom noted that several smallholder fish farmers suffer from limited access to quality fish fry and appropriate feeds. Therefore, there is need to guide them on where these can be obtained. He called on NARO to get closer to the communities through trainings and expos so as to support the commercialization of agriculture. He told the team that more of such initiatives are to be carried out after completing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kingdom and NARO, which will take place soon.
During the PEWOSA expo many farmers expressed their pain of always accessing fake or poor quality seed and chemicals causing low yields. Several farmers therefore utilized the weeklong PEWOSA event to access quality seed and chemicals as well as seek for knowledge from the experts.
Mr. Mpanga Christopher a coffee farmer from Kalongo village, Kalungu district, told the NARO team that he had faced challenges of purchasing fake seedlings form wrong nurseries. Most of his coffee had therefore been infected with coffee wilt disease. When he purchased KR varieties seedling from Kamenyamiggo they all are performing well. He is now in the process of replacing the diseased ones therefore he bought more 400 seedlings during the PEWOSA event.
While representing NARO, Mukono ZARDI showcased NARO technologies of resistant KR coffee lines (1-8), vegetable seed, information and seedlings, aquaculture, agroforestry technologies of Musizi and Calliandra, Hass and Semil avocado, trained farmers on sustainable land and soil management in partnership with Jabba engineering consult a private company. NARO holdings limited also displayed maize (Longe 5) and soybean (3N & 6N) and NAROBEAN 3 & 2 seed for sell. A team from the NaCRRI horticulture programme also sensitized the farmers about the management and control of Tuta absoluta pest that affects 80% of tomato gardens but can be managed using Delta traps.
The Hon. Haruna Kasolo, Minister of Micro-finance from the central Government, applauded NARO efforts to support the farmers with soil management skills and testing and requested them to partner with district extension officers to extend such services at the beginning of every season.
Ms. Nankya Eseri, a soil scientist based at Kamenyamiggo told Hon. Kasolo, that NARO is offering basic soil testing services at a small fee in Kamenyamiggo, but comprehensive soil testing is carried out by laboratories in NARL, Kawanda. It is for the same reason that NARO is also partnering with private companies like Jabba Engineering Consult and Holland Greentech (U) Ltd to offer soil testing services and train farmers on sustainable resource use.
The PEWOSA expo has therefore created a great opportunity to address the food insecurity problem in the country through access to reliable and quality inputs like fertilizers, seeds and seedlings, knowledge and technical backstopping from experts.