Enhancing Farmer’s Capacity to Produce Own Seed: WOUGNET Farmer Field Day Story.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) in collaboration with consortium member organizations are tirelessly working to enhance the capacity of farmers to start producing rice and green gram (locally known as choroko) seeds in a bid to increase income and secure food nutrition and security through the use of information and communication technology (ICT) tools.

At the initial farmer’s field day held at Bar sub-county, Lira district attended by over one hundred and sixty farmers and government and local leaders on Friday 27th  July 2018, farmers received smartphones intended to help them acquire information and skills that would help improve their products and technologies. The farmers appreciated the initiative and declared to adopt all the technologies introduced to them in a bid to improve their farming.

One speaker after another from the farmer’s side at the demonstration field where the trials for technologies for rice and green gram were set up said, they are now much better placed to produce their own seeds and sell to other farmers.

Bonny  Our who is the chairperson of the Note ber youth group said, “By the end of next season all group members will be producing seed for the market and this will generate income for the farmers”?

Robert Amayo, a research officer/crop pathologist with the National Semi-arid resource research institute, Serere said, “Farmers complain of information gaps especially when the need arises to inquire about technical assistance and market information” and in a bid to address the problem,  he noted that the project procured and has given smartphones to 15 farmer groups in Lira, Apac, and Kole with an application which enables farmers to profile their own details, mapping and profiling gardens, asking relevant questions and receiving responses by technical experts. The phones also have a provision for an open market feature where farmers can sell their products.  Other users taking on this mobile application include Administrators, extension officers, farmers, and experts. The application also has input and output providers; which are sellers of input products and buyers.

Mr. Amayo further explained that, so far training has been organized to fully bring farmers on board like group members trained on quality seed production, group dynamics, and Gender issues that affect Agricultural production. Training farmers on how to use the ERIGNU mobile application to profile and map their own gardens among others.

The technology will help in increasing the level of productivity and returns among farmers and hence their level of income. Also, it will help women and youth to participate in the online market chain for selling and buying agricultural products.

Early in 2017 WOUGNET in collaboration with consortium partners like National Agricultural Research Organization, Makerere University, and SNV- Uganda launched a project named Enhancing Rice Gram Productivity in Northern Uganda to increase farmers’ income and improve food security with funding support from Food and Business Applied – Research and the project is expected to end by 2019.

Compiled by: Lilian Mercy Apio


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