Omoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Sunflower farmers in Omoro district are smiling all the way to the bank following a bumper harvest and sales. Hundreds of farmers in the district produced several tons of sunflower in the last season, which has now attracted buyers from Lira city and parts of Central Uganda.
A kilogram of sunflower seeds now costs Shillings 1,400 compared to Shillings 800 in the previous season. Sunflower seeds are used for the production of edible oils, which is key in the management of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. The seeds also contain vitamin E, magnesium, protein, and linoleic fatty acids.
A number of farmers interviewed by URN say that they have found fortune in the business noting that their efforts and finances have not gone to waste. Grace Abalo, a wholesale dealer and farmer in Loyo Ajonga village told URN that she harvested 170 sacks of sunflower seeds, approximately 9,350 kilograms. She explains that she was able to sell to Lira city and some local dealers within Omoro district.
Abalo said that she planted local and modified sunflower seed varieties in order to cope with the weather changes and avert losses. William Oneka, another excited farmer told URN that he was able to realize 550 kilograms of sunflower seeds from his two acre piece of land.
He however says that they should have received more than Shillings 1,300 per kilogram of the seeds but the farmers are manipulated by middlemen since the area has a poor road network and limited markets from within.
Kerobino Okot, the Labworomor village LC I chairperson says that his one acre of sunflower also yielded and he never had problems sourcing for the market. He however explained that farmers in the area were affected by the high cost of sunflower seeds, maintenance, and adverse weather conditions.
Patrick Omona, the senior commercial officer for Omoro district told URN that the district commercial department set the Shillings 1,400 price per kilogram of sunflower to avoid monopoly by middlemen.