Broken Promises and Barren Fields: Serere Farmers Vent Frustration

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Broken Promises and Barren Fields: Serere Farmers Vent Frustration
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Discontent simmers among farmers in Uganda's Serere region. Their primary targets? The underperformance of the NASA Research Institute (NASA RI) and a long-defunct soil testing machine.

The once-promising soil testing machine, envisioned as a game-changer for crop yields, has sat idle for nearly five decades. Farmers like Julius Otai, a prominent figure in Serere, express their disappointment: "We were hoping it would identify the right fertilizers for our crops, but it's been useless for 49 years."

This lack of soil analysis creates a vicious cycle. Farmers struggle to understand their soil's needs, leading to improper fertilizer use, ultimately hurting yields and their wallets. Asinior, a senior plant breeding technician at NAsari Aru, acknowledges the problem: "The outdated machine doesn't provide useful information. We have to send samples all the way to Kawanda for proper analysis."

Further frustration stems from unmarketable crops introduced by the institute. While diversification and improved practices are commendable, the absence of a reliable market renders these efforts meaningless. Asinior reiterates, "Our role is research and production, not marketing."

Adding insult to injury, a significant portion of the institute's research land is reportedly being used by individuals, not the intended beneficiaries – the farmers. This misuse of resources widens the gap between research and practical application.

The farmers' message is clear: urgent action is needed. The authorities must address these issues that are crippling agricultural development in Serere. Only then can these fertile fields fulfill their true potential.

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