Modern farming, aanced farmers

We carry out farming under circumstances that are different from those of our forefathers. We are less sure of climate patterns, grow crops on exhausted land, and the gardens are smaller as we sub-divide them among kith and kin.

There are new pests and diseases threatening to wipe out our staple food and cash crops. Also, our population is growing fast, making it more pertinent to increase food production.

The good news is that Uganda is not doing poorly with regard to achieving Millennium Development Goal One, according to the October 2014 Population Reference Bureau report. Between 1988 and 1992, the percentage of the population living on less than $1.25 a day in Uganda was 69 per cent between 2008 and 2012, it reduced to 38 per cent.

When Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture was adopted in the late 1990s, the idea was to promote modern farming practices and use of biotechnology in agriculture.

Farmers were expected and encouraged to plant high-yielding seeds, to increase fertiliser usage, and to prioritise improved breeds of livestock. The farmer was expected to maintain a budget for purchasing good and clean seed every planting season. The agricultural research stations and some seed companies begun turning out new seeds periodically.

Recently, the government, some NGOs and politicians have been known to hand out seedlings, chicks and cows to farmers to kick-start them into commercial agriculture.

In the majority of cases, the donations have been tested and proven to be of improved variety before being handed out to the farmers.

It is, however, discouraging that we still have individuals and some organisations that condemn the practice of farmers buying new seed time and again. They insist that they should save their seed from the previous harvests like in olden times.

There are even others that discourage biotechnological research and are calling upon the parliament not to pass the Biotechnology and Bio-safety Bill.
They aocate traditional agricultural practices with hardly any consideration for modern agricultural challenges.

E-mail: ssalimichaelj@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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