By Mariam Namakula
Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) has cautioned farmers to desist from early planting of their crops due what they called “unstable” season, which was experienced this year.
Ssempija warned farmers that while there have been a few drops of rain fall in these months it’s not yet clear for the farmers to start planting their crop as yet.
There are two annual known seasons; wet for planting and the dry for harvesting but due to unpredicted environmental changes, there has been scarcely in rains of recent, which has since scared the government that farmers may end up losing their seeds to predicted prolonged drought.
“MAAIF has also developed a temper proof label that will help farmers ascertain the quality of the seeds and therefore farmers should look out for the tamperproof label of either green or blue attached to the seed pack for quality seeds as they prepare,” Ssempijja told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre.
“Planting will start as soon as the rains intensify with at least two weeks of consistency and this will follow a proper organic practices like spacing, line planting, seed rate, initial fertilizer application which will be advised by the fields extension,” he added.
Sempijja noted that reports from the Uganda National Metrological Authority (UNMA) has continuously confirmed that in spite of some rains being received in most parts of the country, there is a huge possibility.
“And therefore through the ministry farmers and agricultural are practioners are advised not to plant but rather start preparations of the next season (A)2021. Farmers are therefore encouraged to continue harvesting the previous season (B) 2020 crops especially the cereals as soon possible while observing proper harvesting and post-harvest handling practices and working on their fields by slashing and ploughing as they prepare for cropping season a year 2021,” he said.
The Minister however advised farmers who have low lying cultivating areas, planting quick maturing crops such as vegetables on condition that moisture levels to go on.
“In the meantime farmers should keep sourcing for improved planting materials especially for perennial crops like coffee, fertilizers, seek advice on crop management from the extension officers at the sub county levels, maintain proper records of all farming and marketing activities and also maintain of good harvesting practices as further commutations will be made in case of other changes,” he said.