Seed fairs are one of the tools employed by the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD Plus) Uganda project as a platform for Local Seed Businesses (LSBs) to sell their Quality Seed whilst sharing information about its benefits. The seed fairs are mostly conducted on market days to capture many participants.
It is estimated that less than 15% of Ugandan farmers use quality seed which is mainly hybrid maize something that stems from inadequate access to quality seed of farmers preferred crops varieties, the high price of seed, unsupportive policies and inadequate knowledge of available varieties.
It is against this background that the ISSD Plus project whose aim is to support the development of a vibrant, pluralistic and market-oriented seed sector in Uganda with support from the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands sought to use the seed fairs to increase awareness of quality seed.
At the seed fairs, farmers are trained on how to best use the seed that they have bought. Also, there is dissemination of Knowledge that includes the crop varieties and their benefits, how to plant them and other best agronomic practices among others.
Farmers get to interact more with the LSBs to learn about the availability and good agronomic practices of QDS. The LSBs also showcase QDS varieties as well as exchanging contacts with farmers for market linkages.
At the seed fairs, Seed is sold and farmers give feedback on different varieties. The feedback is documented by the LSBs to inform them about their enterprise selection. The target audience during seed fairs are community farmers and also people present during the seed fair or market day.
Christine Joyce Adong, the Agribusiness Coordinator for ISSD Plus says that over the years seed fairs have created awareness about the QDS that the LSBs have and also this has improved sales of the LSB quality seed greatly.
According to Adong, the LSBs are encouraged to promote and sell their quality seed through weekly village markets within their location. “The seed fairs happen across the country since Uganda is an agricultural economy and everyone needs information about quality seed,” she said.
As we prepare for season 2021A, seed fairs have so far happened in the districts of, Yumbe, Omugo in Terego, Maracha, Nebbi, Pakwach, Arua, Zombo, Gulu, Nwoya, Apac, Lira, Dokolo, Kitgum and Kole among others at their districts in main markets.