This group serves for exchange and learning on Horticulture in Uganda, Materials available are open to all.
Uganda has fairly well distributed rainfall and moderate climate and is capable of producing most of the tropical and sub-tropical fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, or even temperate fruits and vegetables in the higher altitude areas. The industry relies heavily on imported seeds for vegetables, such as okra and hot pepper. Ugandan fruits in particular are reported to be sweeter and less acidic than those produced in other countries in the region; however, only a small percentage is of export quality. Small scale rain-fed farms of smallholder farmers dominate the sub-sector.
As a network organization, AgriProFocus Uganda members/stakeholders are committed to unite and complement each other in a shared goal: promoting farmer entrepreneurship contributing to increased food security, value chain development and poverty reduction. In this, with over 4000 registered stakeholders online, AgriProFocus Uganda has positioned itself as a key partner of horticulture stakeholders given its continual involvement in the fruit sub-sector and now the horticulture sub-sector.
1. To lobby and advocate for policy enforcement and changes in the horticulture sub-sector
2. To coordinate stakeholders in the horticulture sub-sector to strengthen the sub-sector
3. To be the center of information for the horticulture sub-sector
4. To increase the visibility of the platform online and offline
5. To seek and promote innovations and technologies that can be adopted in the horticulture sub-sector
Current stakeholders in the Horticulture Multi-stakeholder Platform include; SNV, VECO East Africa, Uganda National Farmers’ Federation (UNFFE), Uganda Cooperative Alliance (UCA), aBi Trust, Nabagereka Development Foundation, IFDC, Solidaridad Network, Zuri Model Farm, Afribanana Products Ltd, Pelum, RUCID, NARL, UGOCert.
Farmers growing various vegetables across the country have a tendency of raising seedlings in open nursery beds which according to experts is not a recommended practice.
The same applies to transplanting the seedlings in vegetable farms where farmers control pest and disease infection using pesticides.
The appropriate control measure is using biological agents processed from living organisms to eradicate pests which are also living organisms. As such scientists from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) have been training farmers in the districts of Mukono and Wakiso on best practices of how to raise vegetables seedlings in green houses using biological agents.
This has been ongoing since 2015 under a project funded by Austrian Development Agency through IITA in partnership with Volunteer Efforts for Development (VEDCO) and Real Intergraded Pest Management (IPM) suppliers of biological agents.
Seeds of Gold had the opportunity to interact... Read more
Before Musa Kiyaga started adding value to his produce, he would make less than Shs800,000 per harvest but now this has increased five-hold, with youth and sports personalities being some of his biggest buyers
Several farmers in Uganda sell unprocessed herbs, which fetch them little money. Because they do not add any value to the plants, more often they get dry, thereby losing importance.
However, Musa Kiyaga of Kyampisi Village, Nazigo Sub – county in Kayunga District has discovered the hidden gold in adding value to plant which has medicinal value.
The 48-year-old, who dropped out of school in Primary Seven due to school fees challenges, is the proprietor of Ssezibwa Herbal Uganda Ltd, a company that makes Nino energy drink from herbs.
He makes the drink from hibiscus flowers, honey and tamarind fruit, among others.
As a school dropout, Kiyaga tried many odd jobs to make a living. He did odd jobs such as washing vehicles in Kampa... Read more
Growing a high-yielding variety of Carmen F1 cucumber coupled with identifying the target market can earn a farmer up to Shs7m from greenhouse in four months.
Carmen F1 is becoming popular among horticultural farmers for its tolerance to effects of the powdery mildew.
It performs well in greenhouse set ups, giving uniform fruits in size, shape and weight. Wycliffe Obwoge, an agronomist running a greenhouse, says one plant can yield up to 25 kilogrammmes by the end of the growing season of four months.
He is, however, quick to caution that before engaging in this type of production, it is prudent for a farmer to first identify the market.
“A 15m by 8m greenhouse accommodates 300 seedlings. Because of the constant conditions, the production is steady and can be overwhelming. If a farmer does not have ready market it can be challenging. Supermarkets and major hotels and other high-end eateries are big consumers of cucumbers.
How to Grow Cucumber from Seed
Cucumbers are a summer essential... Read more
If you are to grow pineapples, Abel Kabari advises that you carry out a feasibility to find out if they will do well in your area of choice. They do not do well in wetlands or soggy soil.
Kabari did not have to carry out a feasibility study on the four acres of land on which he grows some 80,000 pineapples, in Luwero District.
How he started
His parents mentored him into pineapple farming and gave him land to till. He is one of the main suppliers of pineapple to Sulma Foods Limited, a company based in Luwero which buys the fruit at Shs2,000 from some 500 farmers united under groups of 20 to 30 people.
Sulma Foods, in partnership with Bic Tours Limited, a travel company with specialty in Japanese market, add value to the organic pineapple grown by farmers from Luweero to make dried snacks which they export to Japan. “When we agreed to work together, I sent the first sample to Far East Incorporated Company, a trading company in Japan, and th... Read more
Tamarind, known as enkooge in some dialects in Uganda and prized for its sweet-and-sour taste, is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Often used to make juice, its sticky pulp is also a rich source of dietary fibre. Lillian Ejang believes that value addition to this wonder tree and its fruits would be of great help in up-scaling ways of combating malnutrition in the country
Seeing vendors selling them by the road side around Nakasero market, one would wonder what they are. Enkooge (tamarinds) is a fruit that will not easily attract buyers unless you are well conversant with them. Tamarinds are pod-like fruits with a brown covering that contains edible fleshy tissue. Unlike other farmers, as a way of increasing her earnings, Lillian Ejang, 37, decided to add value to tamarind.
After four years of imprisonment, Ejang had lost everything. She decided to embrace tamarind farming. “Growing up with my grandparents in Kigumba, Kiryandongo District, we... Read more
Farmers must ensure the land chosen for cocoa plantation contains good soil texture. The cocoa tree has tap roots which descend straight into the soil and the penetration is deep
In a publication by Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (Cabi) about general production of cocoa, it is stated that the plant was widely cultivated by the Maya-speaking people of tropical Central America in the 16th century.
The Mayan found at least 1,000 years ago that, when roasted, the seeds or beans of the cocoa tree produced an aroma so divine and they believed the tree was a gift from the god called Quetzalcoatl.
From the roasted beans, they made a drink, often used at ceremonies and rituals, called xocolatl, from which the word ‘chocolate’ is derived.
More than 80 per cent of all cocoa is produced by smallholder farmers and it provides employment in many rural communities and pays for school fees of farmers’ children, including in Uganda.
Bri... Read more
The solar dryer is a small structure made of timber, wire mesh to hold the produce and greenhouse plastic sheet. The dryer purely relies on green energy as it uses solar or wind
A sharp aroma from the drying pineapples placed in solar driers covers the entire compound of Patience Pays Initiative (PPI) in Ndeeba village, Kayunga Town council, Kayunga District.
PPI is a local company involved in drying fruits and vegetables for both local and export markets. It is also involved in the manufacture of solar driers for sale.
Jane Naluwayiro, the proprietor of PPI says using a solar dryer to dry pineapples, paw paws, jack fruits and apple bananas makes the process of drying faster.
“It is warmer inside than outside so the produce will dry faster than when it is put in open-air sun to dry. This solar dryer has brought joy to me and many other farmers in this district,” she says as she picks up a plastic container full of sliced bananas and takes them to the dryer.
“Besi... Read more
Some Ugandan farmers dealing in fruit production will next week head to the Turkish city of Antalya about 461 kilometres south of the capital Istanbul, to exhibit their produce as the European food processing industry grows interest in Uganda’s organic products.
The chairperson of Kampala Women Traders Association (KAWOTDA) Ms Akankwasa said at least 30 farmers from different parts of the country have been registered with the Turkish Embassy in Kampala to travel for the exposition.
“The Turkish have fallen in love with the fruits from Uganda because they are organic. They invited our farmers to travel to Antalya for the exposition on November 28. If liked, the Turkish will make orders straightaway,” Ms Akankwasa said.
The invitation for the exhibition was made two months ago when members of KAWOTDA visited Turkey for a study tour on how to do successful businesses.
Fruit production is as old as mankind. In fact, the Bible reveals how the first human beings, Adam and Eve, tried to manage the ‘Garden of Eden’. There is great hope that Uganda can become one of the best citrus producing nations but, as would rightly be expected, many farmers’ spirited efforts have been bogged down by pests and diseases, especially, in northern Uganda.
Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Ngetta ZARDI) crop experts Bushira Apelle and Alfred Kumakech say that not all hope is lost, citrus production can boom again if, and only if, the proper procedures are followed to the dot.
Oranges are best suited for sandy soil and semi-arid areas that receive about 500mm of rainfall annually. This implies that citrus can be grown in most parts of Uganda, especially in the northern areas. According to Apelle, even in areas where the conditions are not favourable, farmers can improvise.
“Farm... Read more
As the rains continue to rage this season, early planters have already started harvesting some of their vegetables – quick growing crops, including cabbages, a popular vegetable in Uganda and around the world. Though still relatively low in supply as Betty Namuyaba, a vendor in Kibuye market notes, the supply is bound to increase and subsequently a fall in prices as we get further into the rainy season.
In major markets like Kibuye and Nakasero, truckloads of cabbage are all over the place during the wee hours of the morning and late evening making delivery.
In a couple supermarkets and stalls around the city, big freshly looking cabbages are on display but more specifically shelving red cabbages which are not as common in the major markets. Their prices are also significantly different.
At St Balikuddembe (formerly Owino) market, a few lorries with sacks of cabbages are packed by the roadside as well as heaps of it poured in a collection with other vegeta... Read more
Perfect for salads and sandwiches! Red Creole Onion (Allium cepa) is a brilliant red short day type — best grown in the highlands and low lands of Uganda— with medium sized flattened bulbs. The flavor is pleasantly pungent and not too sweet. A good keeper! (110 days) Approx.4 months.
Onions can be grown in a wide range of climatic conditions; they are quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as -6⁰c. However, good bulb formation requires temperatures from 15.5⁰c with an optimum temperature of 21- 27⁰c.
• Onions do best in well drained soils that are at least 650mm deep, shallow soil may be utilised, but with adoptions in management practices.
• Ensuring a PH range of 6.02 – 6.8. Lower PH levels can result in problems in regard to micronutrient uptake.
• On well-drained soil, prepare a fine and even seedbed.
• It is advisable to use seedling trays to ensure that little or
Gender and Youth Empowerment in horticulture Markets (GYEM) project is empowering horticultural farmers through Participatory Action Learning for Sustainability. The project assessed the effectiveness of the methodology.
Participatory Action Learning for Sustainability (PALS) is a community-led empowerment methodology which aims to give women, youth as well as men more control over their lives and catalyze and support a sustainable movement for social justice. PALS mainstreams gender and diversity as essential components of the effectiveness and sustainability of any development intervention.
Participatory Action Learning for Sustainability (PALS) is a cost-effective and sustainable community-led planning methodology. It helps women and men to have more control over their lives and work together on a basis of shared visions and values of equality. PALS aims to develop the capacity of all participants to make changes in their o... Read more
Beetroot is a very easy to grow root vegetable that suffers from minimum pests and diseases infection. The trick to growing the best beetroot is a nice loose, fertile soil with plenty of well-rotted organic matter.
Agriculture experts working at Starke Ayres Seed Company are encouraging farmers across the country to grow beetroot due to its health benefit William Kimeto, the marketing and product developer at the seed company explains that they have sensitised farmers in the districts of Kabale and Bulambuli in Eastern Uganda to grow the plant.
Beetroot are packaged in 50 grammes costing Shs 80,000. Kimeto emphasized the importance of farmers growing beetroot on commercial basis. Below are the excerpts about the best agronomy practice.
Where and when to grow the plant
• The ideal soil is medium to light which hasn’t been recently been fertilized with manure, this can cause distorted roots.
• The soil should be neutral or slightly alkaline (P... Read more
Pineapples in Luwero are a must bite for tourists destined to Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park. The organic fruit weighing more than 4kg has a price tag of less than sh3000. It all depends on one’s haggling skills.
“Soon, a trip to Uganda without tasting a pineapple will be declared incomplete,” said Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) spokesperson, Jonathan Baniah. “We are urging all tour operators to include a trip to Luwero as part of the itinerary.”
Destined to Murchison Falls National Park, two Japanese Midori Lsozaki and Kusano Kazuki had their tongues wagging for the juicy harvest when they made a stopover in Luwero to sample them on 40 acres of a pineapple garden and Sulma Foods processing plant.
“These fruits are bigger than my head!” exclaimed Losaki as she was served a whole fruit dripping with juice. “Give me chop sticks?” Losaki was told to wash her hands an... Read more
During the Enabling Policy Environment in the Horticulture sector.
Alex Lwakuba (Department of Crop Production; Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries-MAAIF) presented an overview of the Tea, Cocoa, Fruits and Vegetables value chains, MAAIF policy frameworks that reviewed the Government policy direction for each sector, formulation of a bankable HortiDep program, mobilising resources and implementing this program.
Dr. Ezra Munyambonera (Economic Policy Research Centre) made a presentation on the Situation Analysis of Uganda’s Tea sub-sector, challenges and opportunities.
Tea is traditionally Uganda’s third largest agricultural export commodity by value, contributing an annual average of about US$70M to US$80M since 2010. The tea sub-sector has employed more than 60,000 households and been a source of livelihood to over 500,000 Ugandans. Therefore, the tea sub-sector provides an opportunity for Uganda to fight poverty in the rural areas an... Read more
Tea was first introduced in the Botanic Gardens at Entebbe, Uganda in 1909, but commercial cultivation didn't begin until the late 1920's, when a British National called Brooke Bond began extensive planting. With its temperate climate and rich soil, Ugandan farmers embarked on growing the crop thereby becoming a major cash crop.
Tea grows best in misty, rainy regions at altitudes of 1,500 to 2,250ft above sea level in the tropics and lower elevations in temperate regions. The best tea is produced in regions that have dry days and cool nights. Slow growth under some stress brings out the best flavour in tea but yields are lower under these conditions.
The leaves of the plant are what produce tea. The tea flavour is produced by oils in the leaves. Dr Ronald Kawooya who specialises in tea breeding at Rwebitaba Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (RZARDI) in an interview with Seeds of Gold, explains best practices farmers mus... Read more
The best farmers from Uganda visited the World Horticulture Centre in Netherlands; where they learnt about the research and innovation that makes the Dutch the second biggest exporters of fruit and vegetables.
World Horti Center is the leading innovation center of the international greenhouse horticulture sector. A platform where business, education and government jointly innovate, connect, create and inspire. The center is visited annually by some 25,000 international professionals; among whom were Uganda’s best farmers.
The best farmers learned that the greenhouse with its 6,400 m2 research departments, has been built with state-of-the-art applications. Rainwater is used to grow the crops in the research departments. Climate-controlled windows provide natural ventilation and, in combination with horizontal screens, the indoor climate can be optimised. The four kilometre deep geothermal source Trias Westland at the nearby Lange Broekweg will... Read more
Pineapple is an important horticultural crop grown in many tropical countries as a major source of income. It is also consumed as fresh and dried fruit and has been found to have high nutritional and medicinal value. In Uganda, organic pineapple production is practised as part of organic agriculture (OA) systems that have been found to be particularly suitable for small-scale farmers.
The purpose of this research was to conduct a rapid organic pineapple VCA toward identifying innovation opportunities to boost the organic pineapple production and marketing in Uganda. Uganda is leading in Africa with the largest organic area (240,197ha) and highest number of organic producers (190,552), courtesy of NOGAMU, which has been instrumental in organic farming certification in Uganda. Pineapples are produced exclusively as a small-holder crop, either as sole crop or inter-cropped with other crops such as ban... Read more
Joseph Magami is an urban farmer based in Kawempe, a Kampala suburb. For over three years, Magami has been planting egg plant and Nakati in his quarter acre plot for home consumption. However, the introduction of Magami to Zucchini (Courgette) eight months ago is changing fortunes for the father of three. He currently reaps over Ush 5million per harvest from his plot thanks to the adoption of Zucchini, a high value crop.
Magami is among a group of innovative farmers in Uganda who are fast adopting the cultivation of courgettes as the demand for the high value crop soars thanks to the fast rising middle class. According to Magami, the only challenge to farmers is exposure to the high value crops that are on demand.
... Read moreApart from market challenges that every farmer grapples with, most of us are not enlightened to better high yielding crops and therefore labour with the traditional maize and beans which at the end fetch so little in the market because they are