Most cereal crops are grown by farmers across the central region and this is particular for the case of maize while rice is mainly grown in eastern and parts of northern Uganda.
According to the Director National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) Dr Geoffrey Asea this is the right time for farmers growing maize in the country to plant the crop.
There are different maize varieties for high, medium and low-medium altitude areas.
The farmers should, therefore, inquire about the ecological conditions before buying the seeds and to solve the issues of pests and diseases, regular scouting and monitoring is important to prevent heavy infestation.
Farmers should also be conscious to plant crop varieties that are meeting their market demand.
For the case of maize the Longe series are recommended including the drought Tego maize varieties WE2115 and WE2114 which are tolerant to drought prone areas.
For the case of rice, New Rice for Africa (Nerica) comprising of 18 varieties which can be grown upland are recommended. These include Nerica 1, Nerica 2, Nerica 4 and Nerica 7.
In 2013, varieties named Namche 1 to 4 were released. These varieties mature in 100-130 days depending on the variety. Others are Namche series 2 – 6 and WITA9, Agoro and Okile
In eastern and northern Uganda, the crops to grow are cassava, groundnuts, simsim, beans, green gram, pigeon pea, millet, sorghum and sunflower. Other crops of importance especially in the highlands of Bugisu region is Arabica coffee which requires to be planted at the onset of the rains.
The eastern region is also known for growing varieties of orange fruit mainly for commercialization. Other fruits are avocado mainly grown in central Uganda and water melon.
The vegetables are mainly traditional type such as cabbages, tomatoes, nakati, amaranth, cow pea, malakwang and spider flower.
Dr David Kalule Okello who is in charge of breeding programme of ground nuts at the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) in Serere explains that it is important for farmers to prepare their seed and seedlings for the different types of crops in advance. This means planting clean seed free from pests and diseases.
“It is important to acquire seed from a certified institute such as research institutes and seed producing companies. Choosing the land location is important. Farmers must desist from planting root crops such as cassava in water logged land,” says Kalule.
Kalule advises farmers to prepare the land well to avoid over growth of weeds which may outcompete the plants thereby registering yield loss.
“Farmers must desist from planting late maturing varieties of crops because the drought season may catch up when crops are not ready for harvest,” he says.
This is a crop grown widely in eastern and northern Uganda as food and industrial crop.
Gerald Adiga, a research assistant in NaCRRI says this is the right time to plant the various varieties and once germination takes place, there is no need to worry because it is a plant known to be growing under harsh conditions of drought
He notes that cassava is versatile crop which grows well in Uganda’s arable land and it has the highest amount of starch which can be best intercropped with legumes and cereals when at a young stage.
Ideally, fertile well drained land on a flat terrain or gentle slope should be selected.
Farmers often rely on their traditional knowledge and observations, such as presence of certain plant species or earthworm casts, as an indicator of fertile soils.
Steep slopes should be avoided as they could be erosion-prone. If starting from a fallow, 3-5 years of fallow is optimum.
Avoid stony or rock and shaded areas including swamps or places which are likely to flood during the rainy season.
Land preparation should be done at the end of a dry season to allow for planting at the first rains of a rainy season.
There are 21 improved varieties of cassava which are adapted in various agro-ecological zones.
The plants from which the cuttings are taken must be free of signs of disease, such as CMD and CBSD.
Planting depth should be 6-10 cm in holes of 20-30 cm width and the hole spacing should be 1 meter between plants and 1 meter between rows.
In central Uganda the major crops grown by farmers are mainly the East African Highland Banana commonly known as matooke though on rather small scale and Robusta coffee.
Others are beans, sweet potatoes and green vegetables such as nakati, spider flower, amaranth, green pepper, cabbages and fruits such as water melon.
The Director National Agricultural Research Laboratories (NaRL) Dr Wilberforce Tushemereirwe notes that the East African Highland banana is now a major crop grown in western Uganda for food and cash crop.
This is the right season for farmers to start planting the crop. The best agronomy is by digging a hole where manure must be poured and left to ferment for three to four days before the banana seedling is planted.
Thereafter agronomy practices such mulching and pruning are essential and farmers must ensure the seedlings are free from pests and diseases such as banana bacterial wilt and pests such as nematodes and banana weevils.
Other crops grown in western Uganda are Irish potatoes mainly in Kigezi region and farmers can obtain clean seedlings from Kachwekano Zonal Research and Development institute (KAZARDI) where breeding for seedling varieties takes place.
Farm Kiosk - Agronomist