With a grant of US$8m (About UGX28bn) from the Republic of Korea, the 9-year project seeks to transform Uganda’s vegetable value chain sub sector.
Access to affordable and quality vegetable seed remains a major challenge to most farmers in Uganda.
This has resulted into low consumption of essential vegetable-based nutrients among the population, but also cost farmers a considerable proportion of their meager incomes that is spent on purchasing expensive imported vegetable seed.
As a way to address some of these challenges, the government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is supporting the National Agriculture Research Organization (NARO) and National Seed Certification Services (NSCS) of Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) to implement a vegetable seed value chain project focusing on five key crops: Nakati, Cabbage, Pepper, Tomato and Onion.
To implement this project, KOICA appointed a Project Management Consultancy (PMC) to implement the project on behalf of KOICA. The PMC is consortium of two organizations namely Korea Environment and Agriculture Development Institute (KEADI) and Good Neighbors International.
A team of six Korean experts in the field of breeding, certification, cultivation and pest management were dispatched to Uganda in February 2022 to prepare for the commencement of the project implementation on the ground.
The team has held meetings with key stakeholders namely NARO, NSCS, NaCRRI, MUZARDI, USTA, NARO Holdings Limited, Luwero District Local Government and seed companies to discuss in-depth contents of the project and survey project sites.
The “Uganda Seed Value Chain Capacity Building for Key Vegetable Crops” project dubbed “VegeSeed” in short will be implemented for nine years from 2021 to 2029 with the Republic of Korea providing a grant worth Eight million US Dollars (US$8m) towards its implementation while the Government of Uganda shall provide in-kind support worth two million US Dollars (US$2m).
The goal of the project is “to increase agricultural crop productivity and farm income through development of certified high quality vegetable seeds as well as an efficient, stable, and self-reliant dissemination system”.
This goal will be achieved by improving infrastructure and human resource capacity in various aspects of the seed value chain including development of at least five (5) new varieties of key vegetable crops, certification, seed production, marketing and dissemination.
It is also hoped that this project will play a major role in the accreditation of Uganda National Seed Laboratory (NSL) by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). Consequently, the project will have four main implementation sites for infrastructure construction and training: NaCRRI in Namulonge for vegetable breeding; NSCS premises in Kawanda for seed certification; and MuZARDI and Luwero for certified seed dissemination.
Following the introductory meetings with key stakeholders and visits to project sites, the PMC will work with NARO, NSCS and other stakeholders to prepare work environment, organize the project steering committee and hold a project launch ceremony.
The KOICA Country Director Mr. Kim Tae-Young is positive that the development of Uganda’s own certified vegetable seed varieties will play a key part in Uganda attaining food and nutrition security as well as further economic development and expansion in the global market.
He acknowledged that the partnership between Korea and Uganda will be strengthened through the sharing of knowledge and experience in this project.