Legumes Value Chain Actors Strategize for a Better Sector


PHOTO BY DK SEBUNYA: Some of the farmers.

Various players in the legumes value chain have met in a strategizing meeting to improve sector performance and boost individual farmers’ income.

The meeting at Gudie Leisure Farm in Najjera attracted farmers, aggregators, processors, traders, researchers from the National Agricultural Research Organizations (NARO), and private sector leaders under PSFU.

Get ready for census

Government agencies for business development, such as Uganda National Bureau of Standard and Uganda Registration Services Bureau, among others, were also present to facilitate various legumes businesses.

The farmers had representation from over 26 districts from which Gudie Leisure Farm operates, with over 7,000 small and medium-holder farmers. These farmers deal in all legumes, including beans, cowpeas, groundnuts, soybeans, among others.

Pamela Paparu, the NARO head of the program for Legumes, says that under its mandate, NARO has developed several varieties for legumes, especially beans, to support uplifting the sector through increased yield. They make technologies as demanded by the market.

“At the moment, the most important attribute we look for in a variety is high yield because the world needs volume to feed, and more volumes will be needed in the near future, so the key target attribute is yield,” Paparu said.

To align with National Development Plan 3, Paparu says they are looking at targeting production for other attributes alongside yield. They are working on producing varieties that are of industrial quality and can be used for value addition. They aim to produce beans that can be used for canning, those that can be precooked, dried, and then stored in supermarkets to reduce cooking time.

“Most people in urban areas don’t cook beans because of time, so if they can pick precooked beans from the shelf and prepare them in about ten minutes, it will be very good.”

In response to climate change, Paparu says they have developed an adaptive variety that matures within 60 days, away from the traditional 90 days. She adds that drought-resistant varieties have been developed and deployed in the Karamoja region due to its weather pattern. Another variety is highly fortified, especially for women of childbearing age, providing a substitute for iron tablets for pregnant mothers.

While making strides in the sector, Paparu mentions they are challenged by the lack of enough resources to fully execute their mandate and the low uptake of the developed varieties, leaving many on the shelves for an extended period.

Prof. Gudula Nayiga Basazza, the founder and CEO of Gudie Leisure Farm, says this is the first meeting dedicated to improving the performance of pulses. As an organization dealing in the meat value chain, these crops are vital as a steady source of proteins for animals.

According to Nayiga, the meeting was mainly called for younger farmers to be equipped with the required skills and agronomical practices to thrive in this endeavor. The youth have also been exposed to a readily available market for their produce.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *