A groundnut field day was organized to ensure effective functioning of three groundnut innovation platforms (IP) in eastern and northern Uganda. These platforms facilitate joint action of stakeholders to enhance groundnut production and productivity by promoting the use of improved groundnut varieties.
The timing of the groundnut field visit was right as the ICRISAT- origin multiplication materials (Serenuts 8R, 9T, 11T and 14R respectively) had reached physiological maturity.
In the field, participants had practical training. They uprooted, felt and tasted the groundnut varieties and unanimously agreed that they possessed farmer preferred attributes such as: ease in harvesting and shelling; medium to large seed; high yield; uniform tan and red kernels; resistant to rosette and leaf spot diseases; drought tolerant; and sweet in taste.
Participants learned different components of the groundnut improvement chain by visiting the hybridization/greenhouse unit, observation nursery and experimental unit, seed multiplication plots, and the germplasm and seed drying units.
At the drying unit, the agricultural extension staff analyzed pod and seed characteristics of the advanced lines. They selected preferred lines based on pod characteristics (softness, beaks, reticulation and constrictions) and seed aspects (color, size, and sweetness), all of which were criteria they set themselves as critical for identifying good varieties.
The groundnut seed farmers emphasized the importance of the yet-to-be released varieties possessing attributes such as extra-early maturity (75-85 days), drought tolerance and high yield. They also agreed to multiply groundnut seed in accessible amounts before release.
To facilitate continuous knowledge-sharing, participants received books, flyers, fact-sheets and brochures on groundnut value chains.
The groundnut field day was attended by eighteen (seven women) participants. It was organized for the Serere district agricultural extension staff and groundnut seed farmers.
The innovation platforms are an outcome of training conducted in January 2017 at Soroti town that also focused on seed business management. The IP formation is facilitated by the Groundnut Improvement Programme of the National Semi-Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI), Serere, Uganda, with technical support from ICRISAT.
The field day was hosted by the NaSARRI groundnut team, Kalule Okello David, Head and Senior Groundnut Breeder, and his research and technical staff – Dr Biruma Moses, Dr Anguria Paul, Amugoli Otuba Moses, Ochuga Samuel Ereu, Osia Paul, Pamela Namutosi, Okurut Francis, Oriokot Francis, Amukuro Florence, Adong Lucy and Apenyo Beatrice.
Technical backstopping for the innovation platforms is provided by Dr Akpo Essegbemon, Scientist – Seed Systems Specialist, Genetic Gains Program, ICRISAT.
What is an Innovation Platform?
The Innovation Platform facilitates dialogue between key local players in the value chain such as: farmers, input suppliers, traders, transporters, processors, wholesalers, retailers, regulators and the research and development community.
Innovation Platform meetings occur at regular intervals to identify bottlenecks and opportunities in the production and marketing process. It offers space to identify and implement technologies to improve production and fulfil market demand. At the same time it acts as a knowledge-sharing platform for stakeholders on best practices.