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New farming technology gives hope to fight hunger in Karamoja

Farmers touring sorghum garden in Lorengechora, Ward A in Napak District.

Napak, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  The introduction of a new farming technology has provided hope to the Karimojong, thanks to National Semi – Arid Resources Research Institute Serere (NaSARRI). 

For the first time, farmers in Karamoja are expecting a bumper harvest in November/December after planting seeds past May, which is usually cut off period for planting in the region. 

Karamoja, for a long time has been relying on one planting season which starts around April/May. The farmers in the region have also been relying on old technologies that include broadcasting seeds as opposed to planting in rows. 

But NaSARRI, one of the five Research Institutes under the National Agricultural Research Organization – NARO has demonstrated to the selected farmers in Lorengechora Town Council in Napak district that farming can be done throughout the year and farmers get more yields using new technologies that are drought resistant. 

With funding from USAID, NaSARRI has introduced six new varieties of sorghum, millet and green grams and their yields have impressed residents in Napak district. This according to experts will reduce the hunger crisis in the region that is heavily dependent on food aid from the World Food Programme. 

The new technologies introduced last year include; Narosog 2 sorghum variety, Naromill 5 millet variety and Narogram 1 green gram variety. After touring the demonstration farms in Ward A, farmers said that they would not continue with Narosog 4 Sorghum variety and Seremi 2 millet variety that they note have failed them over the years. 

John Peter Obuo, the agronomic research officer at NaSARRI says the new varieties are resistant to drought, quick maturing and high yielding.

Dr. Michael Ugen, the Director NaSARRI said that their aim is to bring new improved high yielding crops to Karamoja so as to reduce food insecurity in the region.

Ugen promised to ensure that more trials of their new technologies are going to be done in different places across the Karamoja region. 

Dr. Scovia Adikini, the project investigator NaSARRI says that the institute is moving beyond production of new crop varieties to the level of processing millet and sorghum technologies. She said they want farmers to stop thinking that sorghum and millet are useful in local brew or food alone but also for processing cakes and donuts among others for better income generation.

One of the farmers Teresa Mudong commended NaSARRI for the new technologies but asked government and the institute to support them with more improved crops and farming tools such as hoes, axes and pangas.

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